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J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2013 Aug;120(8):1179-89. doi: 10.1007/s00702-013-0976-2. Epub 2013 Feb 21.

Antioxidant effect of Spirulina (Arthrospira) maxima in a neurotoxic model caused by 6-OHDA in the rat striatum.

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Laboratorio de Neurofarmacología, Departamento de Farmacia, Edificio 105 C, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, 72570, Puebla, Mexico.


There is evidence to support that an impaired energy metabolism and the excessive generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) contribute to brain injury in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD), whereas diets enriched in foods with an antioxidant action may modulate its progression. Several studies have proved that the antioxidant components produced by Spirulina, a microscopic blue-green alga, might prevent cell death by decreasing free radicals, inhibiting lipoperoxidation and upregulating the antioxidant enzyme systems. In our study, we investigated the protective effect of the Spirulina maxima (S. maxima) against the 6-OHDA-caused toxicity in the rat striatum. The S. maxima (700 mg/kg/day, vo) was administered for 40 days before and 20 days after a single injection of 6-OHDA (16 μg/2 μL) into the dorsal striatum. At 20-day postsurgery, the brain was removed and the striatum was obtained to evaluate the indicators of toxicity, such as nitric oxide levels, ROS formation, lipoperoxidation, and mitochondrial activity. These variables were found significantly stimulated in 6-OHDA-treated rats and were accompanied by declines in dopamine levels and motor activity. In contrast, the animals that received the chronic treatment with S. maxima had a restored locomotor activity, which is associated with the decreased levels of nitric oxide, ROS, and lipoperoxidation in the striatum, although mitochondrial functions and dopamine levels remained preserved. These findings suggest that supplementation with antioxidant phytochemicals (such as contained in S. maxima) represents an effective neuroprotective strategy against 6-OHDA-caused neurotoxicity vía free radical production to preserve striatal dopaminergic neurotransmission in vivo.

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