Abstract Background We aimed to compare biochemical and histopathological findings of astaxanthin's potential effects on oxidative stress in ischemia/reperfusion damage (I/R). Methods Thirty-two rats were randomly divided into four groups: control group; I/R group; I/R + treatment group; drug group. Astaxanthin was orally administered to groups C and D for 14 days. In groups B and C, the femoral artery was clamped for 2 h to form ischemia. The clamp was opened, and reperfusion was performed for 1 h. In all groups, 4 ml of blood sample through intracardiac puncture and gastrocnemius muscle tissue samples were collected. Serum and tissue samples were analyzed by measuring malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), total antioxidant capacity (TAC), and total oxidative level (TOL). Necrosis, inflammation, and caspase-3 in muscle tissue collected for histopathological examination were evaluated. Results Tissue MDA, SOD and TOL values significantly differed between groups. Serum MDA, SOD, TOL and TAC values significantly differed between groups. On necrosis examination, there was a significant difference between groups B and C. Although signs of inflammation significantly differed between groups, there was no significant difference between groups A and C and groups A and D. Although there was a significant difference in caspase-3 results between groups, there was no significant difference between groups A and C. Conclusions The use of astaxanthin before and after surgery showed preventive or therapeutic effects against I/R damage.
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