Growth-inhibitory effect of a fucoidan from brown seaweed Undaria pinnatifida on Plasmodium parasites

Parasitol Res. 2009 Jan;104(2):245-50. doi: 10.1007/s00436-008-1182-2. Epub 2008 Sep 13.


The present study was undertaken to investigate the inhibitory effects of fucoidan, a sulfated polysaccharide isolated from the edible brown seaweed Undaria pinnatifida, on the growth of Plasmodium parasites. In order to assess the anti-malarial activity of fucoidan, growth inhibition activities were evaluated using cultured Plasmodium falciparum parasites in vitro and on Plasmodium berghei-infected mice in vivo. Fucoidan significantly inhibited the invasion of erythrocytes by P. falciparum merozoites, and its 50% inhibition concentration was similar to those for the chloroquine-sensitive P. falciparum 3D7 strain and the chloroquine-resistant K1 strain. Four-day suppressive testing in P. berghei-infected mice with fucoidan resulted in a 37% suppressive effect versus the control group and a delay in death associated with anemia (P < 0.05). In addition, fucoidans had no toxic effect on RAW 264.7 cells. These findings indicate that fucoidans from the Korean brown algae U. pinnatifida inhibits the invasion of Plasmodium merozoites into erythrocytes in vitro and in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / isolation & purification
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / toxicity
  • Cell Line
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Malaria / drug therapy*
  • Malaria / parasitology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Plasmodium / drug effects
  • Plasmodium / growth & development*
  • Plasmodium berghei / drug effects
  • Plasmodium berghei / growth & development
  • Plasmodium falciparum / drug effects
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development
  • Polysaccharides / isolation & purification
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Polysaccharides / therapeutic use*
  • Polysaccharides / toxicity
  • Undaria / chemistry*


  • Antiprotozoal Agents
  • Polysaccharides
  • fucoidan