Neuroprotective effect of Spirulina in cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2010 Sep;117(9):1083-91. doi: 10.1007/s00702-010-0440-5. Epub 2010 Aug 11.


Epidemiological studies indicate that the intake of Mediterranean-style diet is inversely associated with risk of stroke, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Spirulina is widely used nutritional supplement rich in proteins and antioxidants. Evidence demonstrates that the impaired energy metabolism and the excessive generation of reactive oxygen radicals contribute to the brain injury associated with cerebral ischemia. In the present study, the protective effect of Spirulina was investigated in transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO)-induced focal cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats. Male albino rats were divided into six groups: control, sham-operated group, ischemic control group, and Spirulina-pretreated groups (45, 90 and 180 mg/kg/p.o.). Spirulina was administered once a day, for 7 days. The rats were subjected to a 2-h right MCAO via the intraluminal filament technique and 22 h of reperfusion. Pretreatment with Spirulina significantly reduced the histological changes and neurological deficits. Spirulina at a dose of 180 mg/kg significantly reversed the elevated brain malondialdehyde (MDA) content and restored the decreased activities of brain superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and reduced glutathione (GSH) indicating that Spirulina has the protective potential against cerebral ischemia injury and its protective effects may be due to its antioxidant property.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery / pathology*
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*
  • Spirulina / metabolism*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione