Chlorella vulgaris Has Preventive Effect on Cadmium Induced Liver Damage in Rats

  • Shim, Jae-Young (Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Human Ecology, Hanyang University) ;
  • Om, Ae-Son (Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Human Ecology, Hanyang University)
  • Published : 2008.06.30


We investigated if Chlorella vulgaris (CV) has protective effects on cadmium (Cd) induced liver damage in male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. Forty rats, aged 5 weeks old and weighed 90-110g, were divided into a control (with Cd free water), 50 ppm of $CdCl_2$ in drinking water treated groups (Chlorella 0% diet group (Cd/CV0%), Chlorella 5% diet group (Cd/CV5%) or Chlorella 10% diet group (Cd/CV10%). All the rats had freely access to water and diet for 8 weeks. The results show that body weight gain and relative liver weight had significantly lower in Cd/CV0%-treated group than in Cd/CV-treated groups. Hepatic Cd contents showed significantly less by feeding CV (P<0.05). Cd/CV0%-treated rats had significantly (P<0.05) higher hepatic T-MTs, and Cd-MTs concentrations, compared to Cd/CV5% or Cd/CV10% treated rats. The MT I/II mRNA was expressed in the liver of all experimental rats. Its expression was more increased in Cd/CV5%- or Cd/CV10%-treated rats, compared to control and Cd-treated rats. Thus, this study suggested that CV would have a protective effect on Cd-treated liver injury by the reduction of Cd concentrations and stimulation of Cd-MT binds in the liver. However, more studies are needed to identify the proper mechanism of CV and liver toxicity.


  1. WHO. Environmental Health Criteria 134, Cadmium. IPCS, Gerneva (1992)
  2. Friberg, L., Piscator, M., Nordberg, G. F. & Kjellstrom, T. Cadmium in the environment, 2nd ed., CRC Press, Cleveland (1974)
  3. Peters, J. M., Thomas, D., Falk, H., Oberdorster, G. & Smith, T. J. Contribution of metals to respiratory cancer. Environ Health Perspect 70:71-83 (1986)
  4. Waalkes, M. P., Anver, M. R. & Diwan, B. A. Chronic toxic and carcinogenic effects of oral cadmium in the Noble (NBL/Cr) rat: induction of neoplastic and proliferative lesions of the adrenal, kidney, prostate, and testes. J Toxicol Environ Health 29:199-214 (1999)
  5. Schroeder, H. A., Nason, A. P., Prior, R .E., Reed, J. B. & Haessler, W. T. Influence of cadmium in renal ischemic hypertension in rats. Am J Physiol 214:469-474 (1968)
  6. Yoshiki, S., Yanagisawa, T. & Kimura, M. Bone and kidney leisons in experimetal cadmium intoxification. Arch Environ Health 30:559-562 (1975)
  7. Cherian, M. G. et al. Role of metallothioneins in carcinogenesis. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 126:1-5 (1994)
  8. Kagi, J. H. & Kojima, Y. Chemistry and biochemistry of metallothionein. Experientia Suppl 52:25-61 (1987)
  9. Mitsumori, K. et al. Relationship between the development of hepato-renal toxicity and cadmium accumulation in rats given minimum to large amounts of cadmium chloride in the long-term: preliminary study. Arch Toxicol 72:545-552 (1998)
  10. Ellis, K. J., Cohn, S. H. & Smith, T. H. Cadmium inhalation exposure estimates: Their significance with respect to kidney and liver cadmium burden. J Toxicol Environ Health 15:173-187 (1985)
  11. Goering, P. L. & Klaassen, C. D. Tolerance to cadmium- induced toxicity depends on presynthesized metallothionein in liver. J Toxicol Environ Health 14:803-812 (1984)
  12. Probst, G. S., Bousqest, W. F. & Miya, T. S. Kinetics of cadmium-induced hepatic and renal metallothionein synthesis in the mouse. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 39:51-60 (1977)
  13. Morita, K., Matsueda, T., Lida, T. & Hasegawa, T. Chlorella accelerates dioxin excretion in rats. J Nutr 129:1731-1736 (1999)
  14. Hendler, S. S., Fleming, T., Deutsch, M. & Wyble, C. Supplement monographs chlorella. In PDR for Nutritional Supplements. 1ed, pp. 86-88. Medical Economics Company, Inc., NJ. (2001)
  15. Konishi, F., Tanaka, K., Himeno, K., Taniguchi, K. & Nomoto, K. Antitumor effect induced by a hot water extract of Chlorella vulgaris (CE): resistance to Meth -A tumor growth mediated by CE-induced polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Cancer Immunol Immunother 19:73-78 (1985)
  16. Miranda, M. S., Sato, S. & Mancini-Filho, J. Antixoidant activity of the microalage Chlorella vulgaris cultured on special conditions. Boll Chim Farm 140: 165-168 (2001)
  17. Hasegawa, T. et al. Hot water extracts of Chlorella vulgaris reduce opportunistic infection with Listeria monocytogenes in C57BL/6 mice infected with LPBM5 murine leukemia viruses. Int J Immunopharmacol 17:505-512 (1995)
  18. Reeves, P. G., Chaney, R. L., Simmons, R. W. & Cherian, M. G. Metallothionein induction is not involved in cadmium accumulation in the duodenum of mice and rats fed diets containing high-cadmium rice or sunflower kernels and a marginal supply of zinc, iron, and calcium. J Nutr 135:99-108 (2005)
  19. Han, S. H., Shin, M. K. & Chung, Y. H. Effects of the omija extract on the metabolism and renal cadmium contents in cadmium administered rats. J Korean Soc Food Sci 31:1102-1106 (2002)
  20. Kim, M. J., Hong, J. H. & Rhee, S. J. Effects of vitamine E on cadmium accumulation and excretion in chronic cadmium poisoned rats. Kor J Nutr 36:691-698 (2003)
  21. Om, A. S., Chung, K. W. & Chung, H. S. Effect of cadmium accumulation on renal tissues in broilers. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 68:297-301 (2002)
  22. Ryu, D. Y. et al. Dietary iron regulates intestinal cadmium absorption through iron transporters in rats. Toxicology Letter 152:19-25 (2004)
  23. Oteiza, P. L., Olin, K. L., Fraga, C. G. & Keen, C. L. Oxidant defense systems in testes from zinc-deficient rats. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 213:85-91 (1996)
  24. Hwang, Y. K., Choi, H. J., Nam, M., Yoo, J. D. & Kim, Y. H. Effects of chlorella on metallothionein synthesis and binding capacity of cadmium in cadmium poisoned rat liver and kidney. J Exp Biomed Sci 12:23-27 (2006)
  25. Alvarez, S. M., Gomez, N. N. & Luis, S. Morphorogical changes and oxidative stress in rat prostate exposed to a non-carcinogenic dose of cadmium. Toxicology Letters 153:265-276 (2004)
  26. Lauwerys, R. R., Buchet, J. P., Roels, H. A., Brouwers, J. & Stanescu, D. Epidemiological survey of workers exposed to cadmium. Arch Environ Health 28:145-148 (1974)
  27. Roels, H., Lauwerys, R., Buchet, J. P. & Bernard, A. Environmental exposure to cadmium and renal function of aged women in three areas of Belgium. Environ Res 24:117-130 (1981)
  28. Elinder, C. G., Kjellstrom, T., Linnman, L. & Pershagen, G. Urinary excretion of cadmium and zinc among persons from Sweden. Environ Res 15:473-484 (1978)
  29. Kaplan, D., Christiaen, D. & Arad, S. Chelating properties of extracellular polysaccharides from Chlorella spp. App and Environ Micro 53:2953-2956 (1987)