Protection against cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity by Spirulina in rats

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2006 Dec;58(6):802-8. doi: 10.1007/s00280-006-0231-8. Epub 2006 Mar 22.


Purpose: Cisplatin (CP)-induced nephrotoxicity is associated with the increased generation of reactive oxygen metabolites and lipid peroxidation in kidney, caused by the decreased levels of antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of Spirulina, blue-green alga with antioxidant properties, in the protection of cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity in rat.

Methods: Rats were treated with CP (6 mg/kg bw, single dose, intraperitoneally). Spirulina (1,000 mg/kg) was administered orally for 8 days and CP treatment was given on day 4. Nephrotoxicity was assessed, 6 days after the CP treatment, by measuring plasma urea, creatinine, urinary N-acetyl-(D-glucose-aminidase) (beta-NAG) and histopathology of kidney.

Results: Rats treated with CP showed marked nephrotoxicity as evidenced from the significant elevation in plasma urea, creatinine and urinary beta-NAG. Histological assessment revealed marked proximal tubular necrosis and extensive epithelial vacuolization in the kidney of CP-treated rats. Superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase were decreased and lipid peroxidation was increased in kidney tissue. Pretreatment with Spirulina protected the rats from CP-induced nephrotoxicity. The rise in plasma urea, creatinine, urinary beta-NAG, plasma and kidney tissue MDA and histomorphological changes were significantly attenuated by Spirulina. In vitro studies using human ovarian cancer cells revealed that Spirulina did not interfere with the cytotoxic effects of CP on tumor cells.

Conclusions: In summary, Spirulina significantly protected the CP-induced nephrotoxicity through its antioxidant properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acetylglucosaminidase / blood
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cisplatin / toxicity*
  • Creatine / blood
  • Female
  • Food-Drug Interactions
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology
  • Kidney Diseases / prevention & control
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Spirulina / chemistry
  • Spirulina / physiology*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Urea / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Urea
  • Catalase
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Acetylglucosaminidase
  • Creatine
  • Cisplatin