This study evaluates whether Spirulina, including its components such as phycocyanin, enhances or sustains immune functions by promoting immune competent-cell proliferation or differentiation. The effects of Spirulina of a hot-water extract (SpHW), phycocyanin (Phyc), and cell-wall component extract (SpCW) on proliferation of bone marrow cells and induction of colony-forming activity in mice were investigated. The Spirulina extracts, SpHW, Phyc, and SpCW, enhanced proliferation of bone-marrow cells and induced colony-forming activity in the spleen-cell culture supernatant. Granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and interleukin-3 (IL-3) were detected in the culture supernatant of the spleen cells stimulated with the Spirulina extracts. Bone marrow-cell colony formation in soft-agar assay was also significantly induced by the blood samples and the culture supernatants of the spleen and Peyer's patch cells of the mice which ingested Spirulina extracts orally for 5 weeks in in vivo study. Ratios of neutrophils and lymphocytes in the peripheral blood and bone marrow, consequently, increased in the mice.
Spirulina may have potential therapeutic benefits for improvement of weakened immune functions caused by, for example, the use of anticancer drugs.
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Hayashi, O., Ono, S., Ishii, K. et al. Enhancement of proliferation and differentiation in bone marrow hematopoietic cells by Spirulina (Arthrospira) platensis in mice. J Appl Phycol 18, 47–56 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10811-005-9014-6