The preventive effect of phycocyanin (obtained from Spirulina platensis) on alloxan-injured mice is investigated. Oral administration of phycocyanin was started two weeks before an alloxan injury and continued until four weeks later. Tests resulted in the following positive results of oral phycocyanin administration on alloxan-injured mice: decrease fasting blood glucose and glycosylated serum protein (GSP); maintain total antioxidative capability (T-AOC); avert malondialdehyde (MDA) formation in the liver, kidney, and pancreas; decrease total cholesterol (TC) level and triglycerides (TG) level in serum and liver; increase the levels of hepatic glycogen level; maintain glucokinase (GK) expression in the liver and decrease p53 expression in the pancreas at mRNA level. The histological observations also supported the above results. Acute toxicity study further shows that phycocyanin is relatively safe. These results led to the conclusion that phycocyanin has significant preventive effect on alloxan-injured mice. The inhibition of p53 pathway could be one of the mechanisms that led to the protection of pancreatic islets from alloxan injury. We also proposed that GK expression that functions to promote liver glycogen synthesis could be the reason for reduced blood glucose level. The encouraging results are the first step in studying the potential of phycocyanin as a clinical measure in preventing diabetes.
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