Bixin uptake and antioxidative effect and role in immunoregulation in domestic cats Academic Article uri icon


  • Bixin, a carotenoid found in the seed of the Annatto plant, , is a potent antioxidant. Carotenoids are readily absorbed from the diet; therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine uptake of bixin by plasma, lipoproteins, and leukocytes after dietary supplementation in domestic cats and to assess effects on immune response. Female domestic short hair cats (3 yr old; 4.79 ± 0.13 kg BW) were fed a single dose of 0, 1, 5, or 10 mg bixin, and blood was taken at 0, 1, 2, 4 and 8 h after administration ( = 6/treatment) to determine acute absorption rate. Then, bixin was fed daily for 14 d to examine steady-state plasma concentrations and subcellular distribution. Following these preliminary experiments, cats ( = 8/treatment) were fed diets containing 0, 1, 5, or 10 mg bixin/d for 16 wk and blood was collected on wk 0, 6, 12, and 16 for analysis of leukocyte subpopulations, cell-mediated responsiveness, and inflammatory and oxidative biomarkers. Maximal uptake in plasma occurred 1 h after a single oral dose of bixin, with a maximal concentration of 0.119 μ and elimination half-life of 1.8 to 2.2 h. Daily feeding of bixin showed a steady-state plasma concentration of 0.110 μ at the greatest doses. Bixin was primarily associated with the high-density lipoprotein fraction of blood lipoproteins and was primarily distributed in mitochondrial fractions (58-59%) of but also in microsomal and nuclear fractions (37-44%). Leukocyte subpopulations in blood were variably affected by dietary bixin, with an increase ( < 0.05) in total T cells but a concurrent decrease ( < 0.05) in CD18+ and B cell subpopulations. However, plasma IgG increased ( < 0.05) in the 10-mg treatment group by wk 6. Lymphoproliferation was stimulated ( < 0.05) in the 5-mg bixin treatment group by wk 16, and delayed-type hypersensitivity response increased after nonspecific antigenic challenge. Conversely, when a specific challenge of vaccine was assessed on wk 12 and 16, responsiveness decreased ( < 0.05) in the 10-mg bixin treatment group. Bixin supplementation surprisingly caused an increase ( < 0.05) in α-acid glycoprotein but had no effect on natural killer cell activity, other subpopulations of leukocytes, or 8-oxo-2›-deoxyguanosine, a DNA damage biomarker. This experiment demonstrated dose-dependent uptake of bixin in plasma and blood lipoproteins and distribution in leukocyte subcellular components and an impacted immune response through cell-mediated and humoral actions.

altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Park, J. S., Mathison, B. D., Zawlocki, B. M., & Chew, B. P.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • January 2016