Spirulina platensis prevents hyperglycemia in rats by modulating gluconeogenesis and apoptosis via modification of oxidative stress and MAPK-pathways.

Research paper by Kadry M KM Sadek, Mohamed A MA Lebda, Sherif M SM Nasr, Moustafa M Shoukry

Indexed on: 18 Jun '17Published on: 18 Jun '17Published in: Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy


Spirulina platensis (SP) is a microalga with antioxidant, antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory properties. The present study explored the ability and potential mechanism(s) by which SP induced glucose lowering impact in diabetic rat model. Forty rats were allocated into four groups: control; streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes (STZ, 45mg/kg b.w., intraperitoneally); SP (500mg/kg b.w., orally twice weekly for 2 months) and STZ-induced diabetes+SP group. In the STZ-induced diabetic rats, SP significantly decreased (P>0.05) serum glucose, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and significantly increased (P>0.05) serum insulin, the activity of antioxidant enzymes and normalized their mRNA gene expression. Furthermore, SP attenuates STZ-induced upregulation of the gluconeogenic enzyme pyruvate carboxylase (PC), the pro-apoptotic Bax and caspase-3 (CASP-3), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) gene expression. The Western blot results revealed that, SP induced downregulation of mitogen activated protein kinase pathway (MAPK) protein expression in hepatic tissues of diabetic rats. Additionally, SP reestablished the typical histological structure of the liver and pancreas of diabetic rats. Acute toxicity study further shows that SP is relatively safe. This study demonstrates that SP is rich in antioxidant compounds and has powerful glucose lowering effect through the normalization of increased hepatic PC gene expression. Interestingly, SP induced recovery of damaged hepatocytes and pancreatic β-cells via its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-apoptotic properties. The MAPK signaling cascade is a pivotal component of the proapoptotic signaling pathway induced by diabetes mellitus. MAPK activation may be dependent from ROS production, since SP which exhibited antioxidant activities did have a significant impact on MAPK activity.