Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of C-phycocyanin from blue-green algae


Objective: Phycocyanin is a pigment found in blue-green algae which contains open chain tetrapyrroles with possible scavenging properties. We have studied its antioxidant properties.¶Materials and methods: Phycocyanin was evaluated as a putative antioxidant in vitro by using: a) luminol-enhanced chemiluminescence (LCL) generated by three different radical species (O 2, OH, RO) and by zymosan activated human polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNLs), b) deoxyribose assay and c) inhibition of liver microsomal lipid peroxidation induced by Fe+2-ascorbic acid. The antioxidant activity was also assayed in vivo in glucose oxidase (GO)-induced inflammation in mouse paw.¶Results: The results indicated that phycocyanin is able to scavenge OH (IC50 = 0.91 mg/mL) and RO (IC50 = 76 μg/mL) radicals, with activity equivalent to 0.125 mg/mL of dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) and 0.038 μg/mL of trolox, specific scavengers of those radicals respectively. In the deoxyribose assay the second-order rate constant was 3.56 × 1011 M−1 S−1, similar to that obtained for some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Phycocyanin also inhibits liver microsomal lipid peroxidation (IC50 = 12 mg/mL), the CL response of PMNLs (p < 0.05) as well as the edema index in GO-induced inflammation in mouse paw (p < 0.05).¶Conclusions: To our knowledge this is the first report of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of c-phycocyanin.

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Received 21 April 1997; returned for revision 14 May 1997; accepted by M. J. Parnham 28 October 1997

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Romay, C., Armesto, J., Remirez, D. et al. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of C-phycocyanin from blue-green algae. Inflamm. res. 47, 36–41 (1998).

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  • Key words: Antioxidant — Chemiluminescence — C-Phycocyanin — Blue-green algae — Free radical scavenger