Chemomodulation of carcinogen metabolising enzymes, antioxidant profiles and skin and fore-stomach papillomagenesis by Spirulina platensis


Numerous reports have revealed an inverse association between consumption of some selective natural products and risk of developing cancer. In the present study the effect of 250 and 500 mg/kg body weight of Spirulina was examined on drug metabolising phase I and phase II enzymes, antioxidant enzymes, glutathione content, lactate dehydrogenase and lipid peroxidation in the liver of 7-week-old Swiss albino mice. The implications of these biochemical alterations have been further evaluated adopting the protocol of benzo(a)pyrene induced forestomach and 7,12 dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) initiated and croton oil promoted skin papillomagenesis. Our primary findings reveal the ‘Monofunctional’ nature of Spirulina as deduced from its potential to induce only the phase II enzyme activities associated mainly with carcinogen detoxification. The glutathione S-transferase and DT-diaphorase specific activities were induced in hepatic and all the extrahepatic organs examined (lung, kidney and forestomach) by Spirulina pretreatment (significance level being from p < 0.05 to p < 0.005) except for the low dose treatment in forestomach. With reference to antioxidant enzymes viz., superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase and reduced glutathione were increased significantly by both the chosen doses of Spirulina from p < 0.01 to p < 0.005. Chemopreventive response was quantitated by the average number of papillomas per effective mouse (tumor burden) as well as percentage of tumor bearing animals. There was a significant inhibition of tumor burden as well as tumor incidence in both the tumor model systems studied. In the skin tumor studies tumor burden was reduced from 4.86 to 1.20 and 1.15 by the low and high dose treatment respectively. In stomach tumor studies tumor burden was 2.05 and 1.73 by the low and high doses of Spirulina treatment against 3.73 that of control.

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Correspondence to A.R. Rao.

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Dasgupta, T., Banerjee, S., Yadav, P. et al. Chemomodulation of carcinogen metabolising enzymes, antioxidant profiles and skin and fore-stomach papillomagenesis by Spirulina platensis. Mol Cell Biochem 226, 17–26 (2001).

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  • chemoprevention
  • Spirulina platensis
  • drug metabolizing enzymes
  • antioxidant profile
  • skin and forestomach papillomas