Neurochemical Research

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 667–677 | Cite as

Anti-Neuroinflammatory Effects of Fucoxanthin via Inhibition of Akt/NF-κB and MAPKs/AP-1 Pathways and Activation of PKA/CREB Pathway in Lipopolysaccharide-Activated BV-2 Microglial Cells

  • Dong Zhao
  • Seung-Hwan Kwon
  • Yoon Sun Chun
  • Ming-Yao Gu
  • Hyun Ok Yang
Original Paper


Microglia play a critical role in controlling the homeostasis of the brain, but over-activated microglia secrete pro-inflammatory mediators and cytokines, which induce neuronal cell death. Fucoxanthin (Fx), a marine carotenoid, has demonstrated a variety of beneficial health effects. Despite accumulating evidence supporting the immune-modulating effects of Fx in vitro, the underlying signaling pathways remain unknown. In the present study, Fx dose-dependently inhibited the secretion of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced pro-inflammatory mediators including interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, reactive oxygen species (ROS), prostaglandin (PG) E2, and nitric oxide (NO) productions, and also suppressed the expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 enzymes. Further, the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis indicated IL-6, TNF-α, iNOS, and COX-2 mRNA expression were suppressed by treatment with Fx in a dose-dependently manner. The mechanism studies indicated that Fx blocks protein kinase B (Akt)/nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPKs)/transcription factor (AP)-1 pathways. In addition, we demonstrated that Fx increases nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor (Nrf)-2 activation and heme oxygenase (HO)-1 expression in LPS-activated BV-2 microglia. Subsequently, we found that Fx also mediates the reactive oxygen species (ROS) by activating protein kinase A (PKA)/cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) response element binding protein (CREB) pathway, and promotes the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). These results indicate that Fx may be more effective and potential than other candidates via either decreasing the pro-inflammatory factors production or increasing the neuroprotective molecules expression for therapy of neurodegenerative diseases.


Fucoxanthin BV-2 microglia Neuro-inflammation PKA/CREB pathway 



This research study was supported by the Institutional Program of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (2Z04690), the Bio-Synergy Research Project (NRF-2012M3A9C4048793) and the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program (NRF-2015M3A9A5030735) of the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning through the National Research Foundation, Republic of Korea.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dong Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Seung-Hwan Kwon
    • 1
  • Yoon Sun Chun
    • 1
  • Ming-Yao Gu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hyun Ok Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Natural Product Research CenterKIST Gangneung Institute of Natural ProductsGangneungRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Biological ChemistryKorea University of Science and Technology (UST)DaejeonRepublic of Korea

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