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J Diet Suppl. 2017 Sep 3;14(5):573-588. doi: 10.1080/19390211.2016.1275917. Epub 2017 Feb 6.

Supplementation of Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) Improves Lifespan and Locomotor Activity in Paraquat-Sensitive DJ-1βΔ93 Flies, a Parkinson's Disease Model in Drosophila melanogaster.

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a Genetics & Developmental Biology Laboratory , School of Biological Sciences & Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Advanced Research , Gandhinagar , India.
b Department of Zoology , Regional Institute of Education (NCERT) , Mysore , India.


Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) is a cyanobacterium (blue-green alga) consumed by humans and other animals because of its nutritional values and pharmacological properties. Apart from high protein contents, it also contains high levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, such as carotenoids, β-carotene, phycocyanin, and phycocyanobilin, indicating its possible pharmaco-therapeutic utility. In the present study using DJ-1βΔ93 flies, a Parkinson's disease model in Drosophila, we have demonstrated the therapeutic effect of spirulina and its active component C-phycocyanin (C-PC) in the improvement of lifespan and locomotor behavior. Our findings indicate that dietary supplementation of spirulina significantly improves the lifespan and locomotor activity of paraquat-fed DJ-1βΔ93 flies. Furthermore, supplementation of spirulina and C-PC individually and independently reduced the cellular stress marked by deregulating the expression of heat shock protein 70 and Jun-N-terminal kinase signaling in DJ-1βΔ93 flies. A significant decrease in superoxide dismutase and catalase activities in spirulina-fed DJ-1βΔ93 flies tends to indicate the involvement of antioxidant properties associated with spirulina in the modulation of stress-induced signaling and improvement in lifespan and locomotor activity in Drosophila DJ-1βΔ93 flies. Our results suggest that antioxidant boosting properties of spirulina can be used as a nutritional supplement for improving the lifespan and locomotor behavior in Parkinson's disease.


C-phycocyanin; Drosophila melanogaster; Parkinson's disease; paraquat; reactive oxygen species; spirulina

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