Cisplatin is a highly effective chemotherapy drug. Unfortunately, it can be associated with kidney toxicity, resulting in severe and often irreversible renal failure. Several recent studies have investigated the ability of Spirulina to protect rats from cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. In one of these studies S. fusiformis was given orally at doses of 500, 1000, or 1500 mg/kg body weight from 2 days before until 3 days after the injection of cisplatin.18 Administration of this alga was associated with marked amelioration of the cisplatin-induced changes in kidney morphology and significant, dose-dependent reduction of markers of renal dysfunction, such as serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen. In addition, Spirulina reduced lipid peroxidation in the kidney and partially reversed the cisplatin-induced decrease in the levels of reduced glutathione and the activity of the antioxidant enzymes SOD and catalase.
Similar results were obtained in another investigation, where rats received S. platensis orally at a dose of 1000 mg/kg for 4 days before until 4 days after cisplatin injection.16 This treatment significantly reduced the severity of histological changes in the kidney and ameliorated plasma and urinary markers of renal dysfunction. In this study, administration of the alga completely inhibited lipid peroxidation not only in the kidney but also in plasma and restored the activities of SOD, GPx, and catalase to the levels seen in control animals. It is possible that the selenium content of Spirulina played a role in the induction of GPx, which is a selenium-containing enzyme. The somewhat greater effectiveness in preventing oxidative stress in this compared to the previous study may have been due to the longer duration of Spirulina administration.
Gentamicin is an antibiotic used for the treatment of serious gram-negative infections.19 It also is associated with significant nephrotoxicity. Oral administration of S. fusiformis at doses of 500, 1000, or 1500 mg/kg for 2 days before and 8 days concurrently with gentamicin resulted in a dose-dependent restoration of renal function. The highest dose largely prevented the gentamicin-induced changes in renal morphology. All three doses significantly inhibited the increase in kidney lipid peroxidation following gentamicin treatment, with the highest dose providing complete protection. Spirulina also dose dependently reversed the gentamicin-induced inhibition of antioxidant enzyme activity in the kidney. Animals treated with the highest
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