2009 Volume 34 Issue 5 Pages 501-510
Fucoxanthin (FX), a xanthophyll derivative, is an orange-colored pigment present in edible brown algae. As a part of safety evaluation, single and repeated oral dose toxicity study of FX was conducted. In a single dose study, FX purified from seaweed was orally administered to male and female ICR mice at doses of 1,000 and 2,000 mg/kg. In a repeated doses study, FX at doses of 500 and 1,000 mg/kg was orally administered for 30 days. In both studies, no mortality and no abnormalities in gross appearance were observed. In the repeated doses study, histological observation revealed no abnormal changes in liver, kidney, spleen and gonadal tissues of any of the FX-treated groups. However, significantly increased total cholesterol concentrations were shown by plasma biochemical analyses in all FX-treated groups. Although total bilirubin concentrations were increased by FX, it was established that presence of fucoxanthinol, a major metabolite of FX, interfered with bilirubin determination in plasma. To further ascertain the safety of FX, the mechanism by which FX induces hypercholesterolemia in mice and species differences in the induction of hypercholesterolemia should be elucidated.