The chapter is devoted to study the effects of astaxanthin on the frequency of chromosomal aberrations and the level of DNA damages in human peripheral blood lymphocytes under ionizing radiation exposure in vitro. To achieve the purpose of the research, a combination of classical cytogenetic methods (G0- and G2-radiation sensitivity assays) and method of single-cell electrophoresis (comet assay) was used. The specificity of the modifying effect of astaxanthin on radiation-induced genomic injuries depending on the stage of the cell cycle had been determined. Significant weakening of the negative effect of ionizing radiation on the G0 stage and the absence of a radioprotective effect on the S and G2 stages of the cell cycle may be associated with activation by astaxanthin of apoptosis in irradiated cells with a critically high level of the genome damages. The research results not only testify about strong radioprotective effect of astaxanthin but also demonstrate the feasibility of the parallel use of cytogenetic and molecular genetic methods to assess the impact as mutagens as well as factors that modify the effect of mutagens on genome stability.
Part of the book: Progress in Carotenoid Research