Spirulina (arthrospira) protects against valproic acid-induced neural tube defects in mice

J Med Food. 2012 Dec;15(12):1103-8. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.0057. Epub 2012 Nov 7.


Valproic acid (VPA) is a potent inducer of neural tube defects in human and mouse, its teratogenicity is associated with its potential to generation of free radicals and increase oxidative stress. Furthermore, spirulina (SP) has shown pharmacological properties against teratogenicity, which are attributed to its antioxidant potential. Accordingly, the present study was performed to investigate the influence of SP on the teratogenicity of VPA in imprinting control region mice and the possible mechanisms of action. VPA (sodium valproate) was administered intraperitoneally to mice on gestation day (GD) 8 at a dose of 600 mg/kg. SP was given orally at 125, 250, and 500 mg/kg daily from GD0 through GD18. The most common finding in fetuses with VPA exposure was exencephaly. SP decreased the incidence of this and other malformations and increased levels of superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase. In conclusion, these results illustrate the protective action of SP through its antioxidant activity against VPA-induced teratogenicity.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / drug therapy*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Fetus / drug effects
  • Fetus / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Neural Tube Defects / chemically induced
  • Neural Tube Defects / drug therapy*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Spirulina / metabolism*
  • Teratogens
  • Valproic Acid / adverse effects*


  • Antioxidants
  • Teratogens
  • Valproic Acid