Neuroprotection by Spirulina platensis protean extract and phycocyanin against iron-induced toxicity in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells

Toxicol In Vitro. 2008 Sep;22(6):1496-502. doi: 10.1016/j.tiv.2008.05.004. Epub 2008 May 20.


We investigated the effect of Spirulina platensis protean extract and the biliprotein phycocyanin isolated from this microalga, on the activities of the antioxidant enzymes SOD, CAT, GPx, and GR, lipid peroxidation inhibitory activity and glutathione levels after the iron induced oxidative stress in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. Iron is one of the most important agents that produce oxidative stress and decline of neuronal functions. S. platensis protean extract and phycocyanin exert the antioxidant activity by protecting the activity of the cellular antioxidant enzymes total GPx, GPx-Se and GR and by increasing reduced glutathione in cells against oxidative stress induced by iron. These results suggested that S. platensis protean extract is a powerful antioxidant through a mechanism related to antioxidant activity, capable of interfering with radical-mediated cell death. S. platensis may be useful in diseases known to be aggravated by reactive oxygen species and in the development of novel treatments for neurodegenerative disorders as long as iron has been implicated in the neuropathology of several neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Ferrous Compounds / toxicity*
  • Glutathione / drug effects
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Neuroblastoma / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / isolation & purification
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phycocyanin / isolation & purification
  • Phycocyanin / pharmacology*
  • Spirulina / chemistry*


  • Antioxidants
  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Phycocyanin
  • ferrous sulfate
  • Glutathione