Hyperglycemia, Oxidative Stress, Liver Damage and Dysfunction in Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Rat Are Prevented by Spirulina Supplementation

Nutr Res. 2016 Nov;36(11):1255-1268. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2016.09.011. Epub 2016 Oct 4.


Medicinal plants have long been used against life-threatening diseases including diabetes, with more or less success. Some of these plants have been shown to possess antioxidant activities, which could help improving diabetes inconveniences. In that context, we investigated the effects of spirulina supplementation on alloxan-induced diabetic rats, hypothesizing that co-administration of spirulina with rat diet could ameliorate diabetes complications and provide as benefits as the common antidiabetic insulin. Following alloxan treatment, male Wistar rats were fed daily with 5% spirulina-enriched diet or treated with insulin (0.5 IU/rat) for 21 days. Both spirulina and insulin treatments of diabetic rats resulted in a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose and an increase of glycogen level. Spirulina supplementation also impeded loss of body weight and ameliorated hepatic toxicity indices, i.e. alkaline phosphatases and transaminases activities, bilirubin levels and lipid peroxidation. Besides, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels decreased in the serum. Moreover, diabetic rats fed with spirulina exhibited sig changes in antioxidant enzyme activities in the liver (ie, decrease in superoxide dismutase and increase in catalase and glutathione peroxidase activities). The beneficial effects of spirulina or insulin were confirmed by histological study of the liver of diabetic rats. Overall, this study indicates that treatment with spirulina decreased hyperglycemia and oxidative stress in diabetic rats, this amelioration being even more pronounced than that provided by insulin injection. Therefore, administration of this alga would be very helpful in the prevention of diabetic complications.

Keywords: Algal diet; Diabetes; Hepatoprotection; Oxidative stress; Rat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alloxan
  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / analysis
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Diet*
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Hyperglycemia / prevention & control*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Spirulina*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Tannins / analysis
  • Tannins / pharmacology
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Anthocyanins
  • Blood Glucose
  • Flavonoids
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Tannins
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Triglycerides
  • Alloxan
  • Glycogen
  • Cholesterol
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase