Effects of fish oil and spirulina on oxidative stress and inflammation in hypercholesterolemic hamsters

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Dec 6;14:470. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-470.


Background: Altered plasma lipids, oxidative stress, and inflammation have been involved in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. Fish oil has shown inconclusive effects on plasma lipids and oxidative stress. Spirulina has both cholesterol lowering and antioxidant properties. However, the effect of fish oil and spirulina on hypercholesterolemia has not been studied. We investigated the effects of fish oil, spirulina, and their combination on hypercholesterolemia.

Methods: The hamsters were divided into 7 groups: control, high cholesterol (HF), fish oil (post FO), spirulina (post SP), and a combination of fish oil and spirulina (post SF, pre-SF, and HF + SF) groups. The HF and HF + SF groups were given a high cholesterol diet for 8 weeks. The post FO, post SP, and post SF groups were given a high cholesterol diet for 4 weeks and then the treatment for 4 weeks. The pre-SF group was given the combined treatment for 4 weeks and then a high cholesterol diet for 4 weeks.

Results: The HF and HF + SF groups altered plasma lipids, increased oxidative stress, inhibited antioxidants, and increased inflammation. While the post FO group increased plasma lipids and was more atherogenic. The vice versa was observed in spirulina-treated group. Both the post SP and post SF groups inhibited oxidative stress and increased antioxidant status, and post FO and post SP diets regulated pro-inflammatory cytokines to near the control levels.

Conclusions: Both single treatment of fish oil or spirulina inhibit oxidative stress and inflammation. Treatment with a combination of fish oil and spirulina (post SF) may be beneficial for diet-induced hypercholesterolemic hamsters.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / pharmacology
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Biological Products / pharmacology
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / adverse effects
  • Cricetinae
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Fish Oils / pharmacology
  • Fish Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / complications
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / etiology
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Spirulina*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Biological Products
  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Cytokines
  • Fish Oils
  • Lipids
  • Cholesterol