Oral administration of a Spirulina extract enriched for Braun-type lipoproteins protects mice against influenza A (H1N1) virus infection

Phytomedicine. 2015 Feb 15;22(2):271-6. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2014.12.006. Epub 2014 Dec 29.


A growing body of research indicates that oral administration of bacteria (such as probiotics) can exhibit a protective effect against influenza A (H1N1) viral infection in mice. In the present study, we used a mouse model to examine whether oral administration of Immulina(®), a commercial extract from the cyanobacteria Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis, can reduce the severity of illness resulting from influenza A (H1N1) viral infection. The main active compounds within Immulina(®) are bacterial Braun-type lipoproteins that activate innate immune cells through a toll-like receptor (TLR) 2-dependent pathway. Mice that were fed Immulina(®) for 30 days before and 21 days after infection with influenza A (H1N1) virus exhibited a statistically significant reduction in the severity of infection. Compared to the control group, Immulina(®)-fed mice exhibited less weight loss, increased appetite, decreased clinical signs of disease, and lower lung histopathology scores. The results from the present study adds to the increasing evidence that oral administration of bacterial components that activate innate immune cells, whether derived from a bacterial preparation (probiotics or cyanobacteria) or from plant material containing endophytic bacteria, can exhibit a protective effect against influenza A (H1N1) viral infection.

Keywords: Arthrospira platensis (Phormidiaceae); Braun-type lipoproteins; Immulina(®); Influenza A (H1N1) virus; Protective immunity; Toll-like receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype
  • Lung / pathology
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / drug therapy*
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / pharmacology*
  • Spirulina / chemistry*


  • Immulina
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial