Spirulina promotes macrophages aggregation in zebrafish (Danio rerio) liver

Nat Prod Res. 2023 Mar;37(5):743-749. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2022.2089883. Epub 2022 Jun 16.


The immune system of teleosts offers many ideas to deepen the immune mechanisms and cells in general. The use of zebrafish as an experimental model is increased in recent years, thanks to its genetic and anatomical characteristics. It is known that several natural compounds exert an action on the immune system, boosting it. Spirulina, a non-toxic blue-green alga, has been declared a superfood for its peculiar biological activities. In this study, we test the immunostimulant effect of spirulina on zebrafish liver macrophages by immunohistochemical analysis using optical and confocal microscopy. Our results have shown an increase in the number of macrophages after feeding with spirulina, furthermore, this natural 'superfood' can induce macrophages aggregation. These data not only provide information on the possible effect of this alga as a complementary feed on the immune cells of teleost, but also improve the knowledge of the immune mechanisms of vertebrates.

Keywords: Immune cells; confocal microscopy; immunohistochemistry; macrophages; spirulina.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Liver
  • Macrophages
  • Spirulina* / chemistry
  • Zebrafish*