The pathogenesis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) remains unclear, but accumulating data suggest oxidative stress and the relationship between inflammation and immunity plays a crucial role. The aim of this study is to investigate the spirulina, which is a blue-green algae rich in proteins and other nutritional elements, and its component-phycocyanin effect on a rat model of NASH. NASH model rats were established by feeding male Wistar rats with choline-deficient high-fat diet (CDHF) and intermittent hypoxemia by sodium nitrite challenge after 5 weeks of CDHF. After experimental period of 10 weeks, blood and liver were collected to determine oxidative stress injuries and efficacies of spirulina or phycocyanin on NASH model rats. In the NASH model rats, increase in plasma liver enzymes and liver fibrosis, increases in productions of reactive oxygen species from liver mitochondria and from leukocytes, the activation of nuclear factor-kappa B, and the change in the lymphocyte surface antigen ratio (CD4(+)/CD8(+)) were observed. The spirulina and phycocyanin administration significantly abated these changes. The spirulina or phycocyanin administration to model rats of NASH might lessen the inflammatory response through anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory mechanisms, breaking the crosstalk between oxidative stress and inflammation, and effectively inhibit NASH progression.
Keywords: anti-inflammation; anti-oxidant; non-alcoholic steatohepatitis; oxidative stress; spirulina.