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Astaxanthin has no effect on arterial stiffness, oxidative stress, or inflammation in renal transplant recipients: a randomized controlled trial (the XANTHIN trial)

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 15:21 authored by Coombes, JS, James SharmanJames Sharman, Fassett, RG

Background: There is evidence that renal transplant recipients have accelerated atherosclerosis that is manifest by increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The high incidence of atherosclerosis is, in part, related to increased arterial stiffness, vascular dysfunction, elevated oxidative stress, and inflammation associated with immunosuppressive therapy. The carotenoid astaxanthin has shown potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Objective: The aim was to investigate the effects of oral astaxanthin on arterial stiffness, oxidative stress, and inflammation in renal transplant recipients.

Design: This trial used a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind design in which 61 patients received either 12 mg astaxanthin/d or an identical placebo orally for 1 y. Primary outcomes were 1) arterial stiffness measured by aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV), 2) oxidative stress assessed by total plasma F2-isoprostanes, and 3) inflammation assessed by plasma pentraxin-3. Secondary outcomes included vascular function, carotid artery intima-media thickness, augmentation index, central blood pressure, subendocardial viability ratio, and additional measures of oxidative stress and inflammation. Patients underwent assessments at baseline and at 6 and 12 mo.

Results: Fifty-eight participants completed the study. There were no significant between-group differences in the changes in any of the primary outcome measures (PWV changed by +9.5% and +6.0%, F2-isoprostanes changed by -3.0% and -9.7%, and pentraxin-3 changed by +50.6% and -11.0% in the placebo and astaxanthin groups, respectively). There were no significant between-group differences in secondary outcome measures. Larger-than-expected variability decreased the power of the study and increased the possibility of a type 2 statistical error.

Conclusion: Astaxanthin (12 mg/d for 12 mo) had no effect on arterial stiffness, oxidative stress, or inflammation in renal transplant recipients.


Publication title

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition








Menzies Institute for Medical Research


American Society for Nutrition

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2016 American Society for Nutrition

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified

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