Aging has been defined as the changes that occur in living organisms with the passage of time that lead to functional impairment and ultimately to death. Free radical-induced oxidative damage has long been thought to be the most important consequence of the aging process. In the present study, an attempt has been made to study the salubrious effects of dietary supplementation of chitosan on glutathione-dependent antioxidant defense system in young and aged rats. The dietary supplementation of chitosan significantly reduced the age-associated dyslipidemic abnormalities noted in the levels of total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, and LDL-cholesterol in plasma and heart tissue. Its administration significantly (P < 0.05) attenuated the oxidative stress in the heart tissue of aged rats through the counteraction of free radical formation by maintaining the enzymatic [glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and glutathione reductase (GR)] and non-enzymatic [reduced glutathione (GSH)] status at levels comparable to that of normal young rats. Our results conclude that dietary intake of chitosan restores the depleted myocardial antioxidant status and suggest that it could be an effective therapeutic agent in treatment of age-associated disorders where hypercholesterolemia and oxidative stress are the major causative factors.


Biochemistry and Nutrition Division, Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Matsyapuri (PO), Cochin, 682029, Kerala, India.

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