The modulating effects of astaxanthin on apoptosis in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome: Arandomized clinical trial

Document Type : Original Research Article


1 Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Infertility, Shariati Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Infertility, shariati Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Infertility, Arash Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Objective: Astaxanthin (ASX) is a lipid-soluble keto-carotenoid with several biological effects. These effects may benefit polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) patients. Imbalanced apoptosis/anti-apoptosis signaling has been considered the major pathogenesis of PCOS. In a randomized clinical trial, we tested the impact of ASX on the apoptotic pathway in PCOS granulosa cells (GCs). The present study hypothesizes that ASX may improve apoptosis in PCOS patients.
Materials and Methods: This trial recruited patients with confirmed PCOS. A total of 58 patients were randomly assigned to take ASX (12 mg) or placebo for 8 weeks. Aspirated follicular fluid (FF) and blood samples were taken from both groups to measure BAX and BCL2 protein expression. Following FF aspiration, GCs from both groups were obtained; Real-Time PCR and Western blotting were used to evaluate the apoptotic pathway’s gene and protein expression levels in GCs.BAXBCL2
Results: In GCs analysis, ASX reduced DR5 gene and protein expression after 8 weeks compared to placebo(p<0.05). Also, Caspase8 (p>0.05) and BAX (p<0.05) gene expression declined, although the difference was not statistically significant for Caspase8. Besides,ASX treatment contributed to an elevated BCL2 gene expression in GCs(p<0.05). In FF and serum analysis, a statistically significant increase was found in BCL2 concentration in the ASX group (p<0.05). Moreover, a reduction in BAX level was confirmed in both FF and serum of the ASX group; however, this change was not significant in the serum (p>0.05).
Conclusion: It seems that ASX consumption among women with PCOS improved serum and FF levels of apoptotic factors and modulated genes and protein expression of the apoptosis pathway in GCs. Nevertheless, further investigations are needed to reveal the potential role of this compound in PCOS treatment.


Main Subjects