Spirulina prevents memory dysfunction, reduces oxidative stress damage and augments antioxidant activity in senescence-accelerated mice

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2011;57(2):186-91. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.57.186.


Spirulina has proven to be effective in treating certain cancers, hyperlipidemia, immunodeficiency, and inflammatory processes. In this study, we aimed to investigate the effects of Spirulina on memory dysfunction, oxidative stress damage and antioxidant enzyme activity. Three-month-old male senescence-accelerated prone-8 (SAMP8) mice were randomly assigned to either a control group or to one of two experimental groups (one receiving daily dietary supplementation with 50 mg/kg BW and one with 200 mg/kg BW of Spirulina platensis water extract). Senescence-accelerated-resistant (SAMR1) mice were used as the external control. Results showed that the Spirulina-treated groups had better passive and avoidance scores than the control group. The amyloid β-protein (Aβ) deposition was significantly reduced at the hippocampus and whole brain in both Spirulina groups. The levels of lipid peroxidation were significantly reduced at the hippocampus, striatum, and cortex in both Spirulina groups, while catalase activity was significantly higher only in the 200 mg/kg BW Spirulina group than in the control group. Glutathione peroxidase activity was significantly higher only in the cortex of the 200 mg/kg group than in that of the SAMP8 control group. However, superoxide dismutase activity in all parts of the brain did not significantly differ among all groups. In conclusion, Spirulina platensis may prevent the loss of memory possibly by lessening Aβ protein accumulation, reducing oxidative damage and mainly augmenting the catalase activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Memory Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Memory Disorders / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use
  • Random Allocation
  • Spirulina*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Preparations