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Antioxidant activity and hepatoprotective potential of agaro-oligosaccharides in vitro and in vivo

Haimin Chen, Xiaojun Yan*, Peng Zhu and Jing Lin

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Key Laboratory of Marine Biotechnology, Ningbo University, Ningbo, 315211, P. R. China

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Nutrition Journal 2006, 5:31  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-5-31

Published: 2 December 2006



Agaro-oligosaccharides derived from red seaweed polysaccharide have been reported to possess antioxidant activity. In order to assess the live protective effects of agar-oligosaccharides, we did both in vitro and in vivo studies based on own-made agaro-oligosaccharides, and the structural information of this oligosaccharide was also determined.


Structure of agaro-oligosaccharides prepared with acid hydrolysis on agar was confirmed by matrix-assisted ultraviolet laser desorption ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) and NMR. The antioxidant effect of agaro-oligosaccharides on intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) was assessed by 2', 7'-dichlorofluorescin diacetate. Carbon tetrachloride was used to induce liver injury, some index including SOD, GSH-Px, MDA, AST, ALT were examined to determine the hepatoprotective effect of agaro-oligosaccharides.


Agaro-oligosaccharides we got were composed of odd polymerizations with molecular weights ranged from 500 to 2500. Results from intracellular test indicated that agaro-oligosaccharides could significantly scavenge the level of oxidants in the hepatocytes, more beneficially, also associated with the improvement of cell viability In vivo studies of the antioxidant effects on tissue peroxidative damage induced by carbon tetrachloride in rat model indicated that agaro-oligosaccharides could elevate the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and decrease the level of malondialdehyde (MDA), glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (AST), glutamic pyruvic transaminase (ALT) significantly. At 400 mg/kg, MDA level reduced 44 % and 21 % in liver and heart, SOD and GSH-Px increased to highest in liver and serum, while ALT level decreased 22.16 % in serum.


Overall, the results of the present study indicate that agaro-oligosaccharides can exert their in vitro and in vivo hepatoprotective effect through scavenging oxidative damage induced by ROS.