Anti-obesity effects of Spirulina platensis protein hydrolysate by modulating brain-liver axis in high-fat diet fed mice

PLoS One. 2019 Jun 20;14(6):e0218543. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0218543. eCollection 2019.


Spirulina platensis is a blue-green algae with potential anti-obesity effects. In this study, the anti-obesity effects of whole Spirulina platensis (WSP), Spirulina platensis protein (SPP) and Spirulina platensis protein hydrolysate (SPPH) were compared in high-fat diet fed mice, and the potential acting mechanism of SPPH was also investigated. Totally, SPPH exhibited good anti-obesity effects (reducing 39.8%±9.7% of body weight), lowering 23.8%±1.6% of serum glucose, decreasing 20.8%±1.4% of total cholesterol, while positive drug Simvastatin had the corresponding values: 8.3%±4.6%, 24.8%±1.9% and -2.1%±0.2%, respectively. Subsequently, PCR array was used to conduct gene expression analysis in brain and liver tissues of SPPH-treated mice, which displayed distinctly different expression pattern. The most markedly changed genes included: Acadm (-34.7 fold), Gcg (2.5 fold), Adra2b (2 fold) and Ghsr (2 fold) in brain; Retn (39 fold), Fabp4 (15.5 fold), Ppard (6 fold) and Slc27a1 (5.4 fold) in liver. Further network analysis demonstrated that the significantly expressed genes in brain and liver tissues were mapped into an interacting network, suggesting a modulatory effect on brain-liver axis, major pathways were involved in the axis: PPAR, adipocytokine, AMPK, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and MAPK. This study showed that Spirulina platensis protein hydrolysate possessed anti-obesity effect in mice.

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / genetics
  • Adipokines / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors / genetics
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Protein Hydrolysates / pharmacology*
  • Protein Hydrolysates / therapeutic use
  • Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Spirulina / chemistry*


  • Adipokines
  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors
  • Plant Extracts
  • Protein Hydrolysates
  • Protein Kinases
  • AMP-activated protein kinase kinase

Supplementary concepts

  • Arthrospira platensis

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work. The commercial affiliations Zhongci Health Care Products Technology Development Co. Ltd, Guangzhou, China and Guangzhou Honsea Industry Co. Ltd, Guangzhou, China did not provide funding for this project. The commercial affiliations provided support in the form of salaries for authors [Chunchen Liu, Xuesong Zhou], but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors Chunchen Liu and Xuesong Zhou from the two affiliations made contributions to the manuscript, already articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section.