This study was performed to investigate the effect of chlorella on cadmium (Cd) toxicity in Cd- administered rats. Sixty male Sprague-Dawley rats (14 week-old) were blocked into 6 groups. Cadmium chloride was given at levels of 0 or 325 mg (Cd: 0, 160 ppm), and chlorella powder at levels of 0, 3 and 5%. Cadmium was accumulated in blood and tissues (liver, kidney and small intestine) in the Cd-exposed groups, while the accumulation of Cd was decreased in the Cd-exposed chlorella groups. Fecal and urinary Cd excretions were remarkably increased in Cd-exposed chlorella groups. Thus, cadmium retention ratio and absorption rate were decreased in the Cd exposed chlorella groups. Urinary and serum creatinine, and creatinine clearance were not changed in experimental animals. In addition, metallothionein (MT) synthesis in tissues was increased by Cd administration. The Cd-exposed chlorella groups indicated lower MT concentration compared to the Cd-exposed groups. Moreover, glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was not changed by dietary chlorella and Cd administration. According to the results above, this study could suggest that Cd toxicity can be alleviated by increasing Cd excretion through feces. Therefore, when exposed to Cd, chlorella is an appropriate source which counteracts heavy metal poisoning, to decrease the damage of tissues by decreasing cadmium absorption.
Keywords: Chlorella; cadmium; excretion; heavy metal; metallothionein (MT).