Antioxidant Effect of Spirulina (Arthrospira) maxima on Chronic Inflammation Induced by Freund's Complete Adjuvant in Rats

J Med Food. 2015 Aug;18(8):865-71. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2014.0117. Epub 2015 Jan 19.


One of the major mechanisms in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammation is the excessive production of reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen species, and therefore, oxidative stress. Spirulina (Arthrospira) maxima has marked antioxidant activity in vivo and in vitro, as well as anti-inflammatory activity in certain experimental models, the latter activity being mediated probably by the antioxidant activity of this cyanobacterium. In the present study, chronic inflammation was induced through injection of Freund's complete adjuvant (CFA) in rats treated daily with Spirulina (Arthrospira) maxima for 2 weeks beginning on day 14. Joint diameter, body temperature, and motor capacity were assessed each week. On days 0 and 28, total and differential leukocyte counts and serum oxidative damage were determined, the latter by assessing lipid peroxidation and protein carbonyl content. At the end of the study, oxidative damage to joints was likewise evaluated. Results show that S. maxima favors increased mobility, as well as body temperature regulation, and a number of circulating leukocytes, lymphocytes, and monocytes in specimens with CFA-induced chronic inflammation and also protects against oxidative damage in joint tissue as well as serum. In conclusion, the protection afforded by S. maxima against development of chronic inflammation is due to its antioxidant activity.

Keywords: Freund's complete adjuvant; Spirulina (Arthrospira) maxima; antioxidant effect; chronic inflammation; oxidative damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Arthritis, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Arthritis, Experimental / diet therapy*
  • Arthritis, Experimental / metabolism
  • Body Temperature / drug effects
  • Freund's Adjuvant / toxicity
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / diet therapy*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Joints / drug effects*
  • Joints / metabolism
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology
  • Protein Carbonylation / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Spirulina / chemistry*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Protective Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Freund's Adjuvant