Inhibitory effects of spirulina platensis on carcinogen-activating cytochrome P450 isozymes and potential for drug interactions

Int J Toxicol. Sep-Oct 2013;32(5):376-84. doi: 10.1177/1091581813503887. Epub 2013 Sep 30.


Spirulina platensis (SP) has been considered as potential food source of 21st century due to its remarkable nutrient profile and therapeutic benefits. However, the cytochrome P450 (CYP)-mediated drug/chemical interaction potential of SP has not yet been pursued. We investigated the effects of SP on the expressions and enzymatic activities of main CYP isozymes. After the rats were orally administered with SP daily for 5 consecutive weeks, there were significant downregulations in hepatic expression levels and inhibition in enzymatic activities of CYP1A2 and CYP2E1 compared to controls. In addition, a significant decrease was observed in CYP2C6-associated enzyme activity with no remarkable changes in messenger RNA (mRNA)/protein levels. The SP application resulted in significant increases in mRNA/protein levels of both CYP2B1 and CYP3A1 without a significant change in enzyme activities. These findings partly explain the chemopreventive properties of SP toward various organ toxicities, mutagenesis, and carcinogenesis; however, its coadministration with some CYP substrates may lead to undesirable drug interactions.

Keywords: Spirulina platensis; chemoprevention; cytochrome P450; drug interaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogens
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Drug Interactions
  • Isoenzymes / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Male
  • Microsomes, Liver / drug effects*
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Spirulina*


  • Carcinogens
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Isoenzymes
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System