Salubrious effect of C-phycocyanin against oxalate-mediated renal cell injury

Clin Chim Acta. 2004 Oct;348(1-2):199-205. doi: 10.1016/j.cccn.2004.05.016.


Background: C-phycocyanin, a biliprotein pigment found in some blue green algae (Spirulina platensis) with nutritional and medicinal properties, was investigated for its efficacy on sodium oxalate-induced nephrotoxicity in experimentally induced urolithic rats.

Methods: Male Wistar rats were divided into four groups. Hyperoxaluria was induced in two of these groups by intraperitoneal infusion of sodium oxalate (70 mg/kg), and a pretreatment of phycocyanin (100 mg/kg) as a single oral dosage was given to one of these groups by 1 h prior to sodium oxalate infusion challenges. The study also encompasses an untreated control group and a phycocyanin-alone treated drug control group. The extent of lipid peroxidation (LPO) was evaluated in terms of renal concentrations of MDA, conjugated diene and hydroperoxides. The following assay was performed in the renal tissue (a) antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase, (b) glutathione metabolizing enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), (c) the low molecular weight antioxidants (GSH, vitamins E and C) and protein carbonyl content.

Results: The increased concentrations of MDA, conjugated diene and hydroperoxide (index of the lipid peroxidation) were controlled (P < 0.001) in the phycocyanin-pretreated group. At the outset, the low molecular weight antioxidants were appreciably increased (P < 0.001), whereas the tissue protein carbonyl concentration was decreased (P < 0.001), suggesting that phycocyanin provides protection to renal cell antioxidants. It was noticed that the activities of antioxidant enzymes and glutathione metabolizing enzymes were considerably stabilized in rats pretreated with phycocyanin.

Conclusion: We suggest that phycocyanin protects the integrity of the renal cell by stabilizing the free radical mediated LPO and protein carbonyl, as well as low molecular weight antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes in renal cells. Thus, the present analysis reveals that the antioxidant nature of C-phycocyanin protects the renal cell against oxalate-induced injury and may be a nephroprotective agent.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Hyperoxaluria / chemically induced
  • Hyperoxaluria / prevention & control
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Kidney / cytology
  • Kidney / enzymology
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced
  • Kidney Diseases / metabolism
  • Kidney Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Oxalates
  • Phycocyanin / pharmacology*
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Antioxidants
  • Oxalates
  • Protective Agents
  • Phycocyanin