Efficacy of Spirulina platensis on immune functions in cancer mice with systemic candidiasis

Document Type : Original Articles


1 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Amol University of Special Modern Technologies, Amol, Iran

2 Mycology Research Center, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


The aim of this study was to investigate the immunomodulatory effects of Spirulina platensis (S.
platensis) by measuring the levels of serum interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10, IL-17, tumor necrosis factor
(TNF)-α and interferon (IFN)-|γ| in mice suffered from systemic candidiasis and breast cancer. The
aqueous extract of S. platensis was selected for this study. Balb/C female mice were inoculated with
Candida albicans (C. albicans) and spontaneous mouse mammary tumor (SMMT). Five days after
Candida inoculation, the serum levels of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) were
assessed by Enzyme- linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The animals were treated daily with S.
platensis solution (800 mg/kg, 0.2 ml, orally) for 3 days before IV challenge with C. albicans, and
SC challenge with SMMT and continued for 10 days. The survival rate and tumor size of understudy
animals were determined, as well. ELISA determined the levels of TNF-α, IFN-γ IFN T γ-4, IL-10
and IL-17 cytokines in supernatants. The results demonstrated that S. platensis decreased the
secretion of IL-4 (45.1 pg/ml) and IL-10 (208.4 pg/ml) in tumor-bearing mice infected with C.
albicans, whereas the levels of IL-17, TNF-α and IFN-γ increased to nearly 93.4 p/ml, 316.2 pg/ml
and 137.1 pg/ml in this group, respectively. These findings clearly suggest that S. platensis has a
remarkable immunomodulatory effect, which provides a scientific validation for the popular use of
this natural substance, and assisted in the additional investigation of their complete mechanism of