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J Ethnopharmacol. 1999 Feb;64(2):141-7.

Studies on the preventive effect of Spirulina maxima on fatty liver development induced by carbon tetrachloride, in the rat.

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Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, UNAM, Mexico D.F., Mexico.


The aim of the present work was to assess if the feeding of either the oil extract of Spirulina maxima or of its defatted fraction would prevent fatty liver development, induced in rats by a single intraperitoneal dose of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4). Liver and serum lipids were evaluated 4 days after treatment with this agent. Concentration of liver lipids did not differ in rats fed on a purified diet either without or with one of the fractions of Spirulina, except for total cholesterol, which showed a slight increase in the group receiving the oil extract of Spirulina. However, after CCl4 treatment, liver total lipids and triacylglycerols were significantly lower in rats fed on a diet containing any fraction of Spirulina (defatted or the oil fraction) than in rats without Spirulina in their diet. Furthermore, the increased liver cholesterol values, induced by CCl4 treatment, were not observed in rats receiving Spirulina. In addition, rats receiving whole Spirulina in their diet and treated only with the vehicle showed an increase in the percentage of HDL values. The changes in VLDL and LDL induced by CCl4 treatment were not observed in the whole Spirulina group. Furthermore, after CCl4 treatment the values of the liver microsomal thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances were lower in the whole Spirulina group than in the control group. These results support the potential hepatoprotective role of Spirulina.

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