Antioxidant effect of the marine algae Chlorella vulgaris against naphthalene-induced oxidative stress in the albino rats


Alcoholic extract of the marine algae Chlorella vulgaris was examined for its free radical scavenging effect with reference to naphthalene-induced lipid peroxidation in serum, liver, and kidney of rats. Initially, upon naphthalene intoxication (435 mg/kg body weight, intraperitoneally), the lipid peroxidation activity increased significantly (P < 0.001), and in contrast, the enzymic antioxidants (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase) and non-enzymic antioxidants (glutathione, ascorbic acid, and α-tocopherol) levels decreased remarkably. When the naphthalene stressed rats were treated with Chlorella vulgaris extract (70 mg/kg body weight, orally), the lipid peroxidation activity reduced significantly (P < 0.001) and the activities of both the enzymic and non-enzymic antioxidants increased reaching near control values. The minimum concentration (70 mg/l) of the extract that exhibited maximum (85%) free radical scavenging activity was chosen for the experimental study. The present results suggest that Chlorella vulgaris extract exerts its chemo-preventive effect by modulating the antioxidants status and lipid peroxidation during naphthalene intoxication.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    Vijayavel K, Gomathi RD, Durgabhavani K, Balasubramanian MP (2004) Sublethal effect of naphthalene on lipid peroxidation and antioxidants status of the marine edible crab Scylla serrata. Mar Pollut Bull 48:429–433

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Wilson AS, Davis CD, Williams DP, Buckpitt AR, Pirmohamed M, Park BK (1996) Characterisation of the toxic metabolite(s) of naphthalene. Toxicology 114:233–242

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Vuchetich PJ, Bagchi D, Bagchi M, Hassoun EA, Tang L, Stohs SJ (1996) Naphthalene-induced oxidative stress in rats and the protective effects of vitamin E succinate. Free Radic Biol Med 21(5):577–590

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Greene JF, Zheng J, Grant DF, Hammock BD (2000) Cytotoxicity of 1,2-epoxynaphthalene is correlated with protein binding and in situ glutathione depletion in cytochrome P4501A1 expressing Sf-21 cells. Toxicol Sci 53:352–360

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Stohs SJ, Ohia S, Bagchi D (2002) Naphthalene toxicity and antioxidant nutrients. Toxicology 180:97–105

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Vijayavel K, Anbuselvam C, Balasubramanian MP (2005) Naphthalene-induced hematological disturbances and oxidative stress in an estuarine edible crab, Scylla serrata. Environ Toxicol 20:464–466

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Konishi F, Tanaka K, Himeno K, Taniguchi K, Nomoto K (1985) Antitumor effect induced by a hot water extract of Chlorella vulgaris (CE): resistance to Meth-A tumor growth mediated by CE-induced polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Cancer Immunol Immunother 19:73–78

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Morimoto T, Nagatsu A, Murakami N, Sakakibara J, Tokuda H, Nishino H (1995) Anti-tumor-promoting glyceroglycolipids from the green alga, Chlorella vulgaris. Phytochemistry 40:1433–1437

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Singh A, Singh SP, Bamezai R (1998) Perinatal influence of Chlorella vulgaris (E-25) on hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes and lipid peroxidation. Anticancer Res 18(3A):1509–1514

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Tanaka K, Koga T, Konishi F, Nakamura M, Mitsuyama K, Nomoto K (1986) Augmentation of host defense by a unicellular green alga, Chlorella vulgaris, to Escherichia coli infection. Infect Immun 53:267–271

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Hasegawa T, Okuda M, Makino M, Hiromatsu K, Nomoto K, Yoshikai Y (1995) Hot water extracts of Chlorella vulgaris reduce opportunistic infection with Listeria monocytogenes in C57BL/6 mice infected with LP-BM5 murine leukemia viruses. Int J Immunopharmacol 17:505–512

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Shibata S, Oda K, Onodera-Masuoka N, Matsubara S, Kikuchi-Hayakawa H, Ishikawa F, Iwabuchi A, Sansawa H (2001) Hypocholesterolemic effects of indigestible fraction of Chlorella regularis in cholesterol-fed rats. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol 47:373–377

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Shibata S, Natori Y, Nishhara T, Tomisaka K, Matsumoto K, Sansawa H, Nguyen VC (2003) Antioxidant and anti-cataract effects of Chlorella on rats with streptozocin-induced diabetes. J Nutri Sci Vitaminol 49:334–339

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Hashimoto S, Setoyama T, Yokokura T, Mutai M (1982) Effects of soybean phosphilid, chlorella phospholipid and clofibrate on collagen and elastin synthesis in the aorta and on the serum and liver lipid contents in rats. Exp Mol Pathol 36:99–106

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Abe N, Murata T, Hirota A (1998) Novel 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl-radical scavengers, bisorbicillin and demethyltrichodimerol, from a fungus. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 62:661–662

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Lowry OH, Rosebrough NJ, Farr AL, Randall RJ (1951) Protein measurement with the folin-ciocalteau reagent. J Biol Chem 193:265–273

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Okawa H, Ohishi N, Yagi K (1979) Assay for lipid peroxides in animal tissues by thiobarbituric acid reaction. Anal Biochem 95:351–358

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Marklund S, Marklund G (1974) Involvement of superoxide anion radical in the auto-oxidation of pyrogallol and a convenient assay of superoxide dismutase. Eur J Biochem 47:469–474

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Sinha AK (1972) Coliometric assay of catalse. Anal Biochem 47:389–395

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Rotruck JT, Pope AL, Ganther HE, Swanson AB, Hafeman DG, Hoekstra WG (1973) Selenium: biochemical role as a component of glutathione peroxidase. Science 179:588–590

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Moron M, Depierre JW, Mannervik BT (1979) Levels of glutathione, glutathione reductase and glutathione S-transferase activities in rat lung and liver. Biochem Biophys Acta 582:67–78

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Omaye ST, Turnbull JB, Sauberlich HE (1979) Selected methods for the determination of ascorbic acid in animal cells, tissues and fluids. Methods Enzymol 62:1–11

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Desai ID (1984) Vitamin E analysis method for animal tissues. Methods Enzymol 105:138–143

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Pandya U, Saini MK, Jin GF, Awasthi S, Godley BF, Awasthi YC (2000) Dietary curcumin prevents ocular toxicity of naphthalene in rats. Toxicol Lett 115(3):195–204

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Vijayavel K, Anbuselvam C, Balasubramanian MP (2006) Free radical scavenging activity of the marine mangrove Rhizophora apiculata bark extract with reference to naphthalene induced mitochondrial dysfunction. Chem Biol Inter 163(1–2):170–175

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Ramanathan K, Balakumar BS, Panneerselvam C (2002) Effects of ascorbic acid and α-tocopherol on arsenic-induced oxidative stress. Hum Exp Toxicol 21:675–680

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Miranda MS, Sato S, Mancini-Filho J (2001) Antioxidant activity of the microalga Chlorella vulgaris cultured on special conditions. Boll Chim Farm 140:165–168

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Kudaa T, Tsunekawaa M, Gotoa H, Arakib Y (2005) Antioxidant properties of four edible algae harvested in the Noto Peninsula, Japan. J Food Comp Anal 18:625–633

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Wu LC, Ho JAA, Shieh MC, Lu IW (2005) Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of Spirulina and Chlorella water extracts. J Agric Food Chem 53:4207–4212

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to K. Vijayavel.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Vijayavel, K., Anbuselvam, C. & Balasubramanian, M.P. Antioxidant effect of the marine algae Chlorella vulgaris against naphthalene-induced oxidative stress in the albino rats. Mol Cell Biochem 303, 39–44 (2007).

Download citation


  • Chlorella vulgaris
  • Free radical scavengers
  • Naphthalene
  • Lipid peroxidation