Background: Adult stem cells are known to have a reduced restorative capacity as we age and are more vulnerable to oxidative stress resulting in a reduced ability of the body to heal itself. We have previously reported that a proprietary nutraceutical formulation, NT-020, promotes proliferation of human hematopoietic stem cells in vitro and protects stem cells from oxidative stress when given chronically to mice in vivo. Because previous reports suggest that the blue green algae, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) can modulate immune function in animals, we sought to investigate the effects of AFA on human stem cells in cultures.
Material/methods: Two AFA products were used for extraction: AFA whole (AFA-W) and AFA cellular concentrate (AFA-C). Water and ethanol extractions were performed to isolate active compounds for cell culture experiments. For cell proliferation analysis, human bone marrow cells or human CD34+ cells were cultured in 96 well plates and treated for 72 hours with various extracts. An MTT assay was used to estimate cell proliferation.
Results: We report here that the addition of an ethanol extract of AFA-cellular concentrate further enhances the stem cell proliferative action of NT-020 when incubated with human adult bone marrow cells or human CD34+ hematopoietic progenitors in culture. Algae extracts alone had only moderate activity in these stem cell proliferation assays.
Conclusions: This preliminary study suggests that NT-020 plus the ethanol extract of AFA cellular concentrate may act to promote proliferation of human stem cell populations.