Chemobrain refers to a common sequelae experienced by 15-80% of cancer patients exposed to chemotherapeutics. The antineoplastic agent doxorubicin (DOX) has been implicated in a strenuous neurotoxicity manifested as decline in cognitive functions, most probably via cytokine-induced oxidative and nitrosative damage to brain tissues. Astaxanthin (AST), a naturally occurring carotenoid, is reputable for its outstanding antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiapoptotic activities. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to investigate the potential neuroprotective and memory-enhancing effects of AST against DOX-induced behavioral and neurobiological abnormalities. Briefly, AST treatment (25 mg/kg) significantly protected against DOX-induced memory impairment. Furthermore, AST restored hippocampal histopathological architecture, halted DOX-induced oxidative and inflammatory insults, mitigated the increase in acetylcholinesterase activity, and consistently downregulated the overactive apoptotic machineries. In conclusion, these findings suggest that AST offers neuroprotection against DOX-induced cognitive impairment which could be explained at least partly by its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiapoptotic effects.
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