C-phycocyanin attenuates cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity in mice

Ren Fail. 2012;34(7):892-900. doi: 10.3109/0886022X.2012.690925. Epub 2012 Jun 8.


Although cisplatin is a highly effective antineoplastic agent, nephrotoxicity is its major clinical problem. Recently, it was reported that Spirulina, a blue-green algae, has potent antioxidant properties. The aim of this study was to establish the possible protective role of C-phycocyanin (PC), one of the active ingredients of Spirulina, against cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. This study was carried out using human kidney-2 (HK-2) cells and male C57BL6 mice. Cells and mice were divided into four groups; untreated control group, PC-treated control group, cisplatin-treated group, and PC plus cisplatin-treated group. The molecular, functional, and structural parameters were measured. PC significantly attenuated blood urea nitrogen, serum creatinine, renal histological damages, and apoptotic cell death in cisplatin-treated mice. The cisplatin-induced cell death was significantly attenuated in cells pretreated with PC. PC also significantly attenuated the elevation of p-ERK, p-JNK, and p-p38 induced by cisplatin treatment. The expression of Bax, caspase-9, and caspase-3 in cisplatin-treated cells were also decreased by PC treatment. In conclusion, PC ameliorates cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity and, at least in part, suppression of p-ERK, p-JNK, p-p38, Bax, caspase-9, and caspase-3 may be involved in this mechanism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cisplatin / adverse effects*
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Kidney Diseases / enzymology
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / prevention & control
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Phycocyanin / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Phycocyanin
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Caspase 3
  • Cisplatin