The objective of this study was to investigate the modulatory effect of Chlorella vulgaris on cultured fibroblast cells derived from young and old aged individuals focusing on DNA damage, telomere length and telomerase activity. Dose-response test of the algal extract on cells in both age groups revealed that optimum viability was observed at a concentration of 50 microg/ml. Results obtained showed that Chlorella vulgaris exhibited protective effects against H(2)O(2)-induced oxidative stress as shown by the reduction in damaged DNA caused by H(2)O(2) treatment (p<0.05) in Chlorella vulgaris pre- and post-treated groups (p<0.05). Pre-treatment of Chlorella vulgaris resulted in a significant decrease in DNA damage suggesting a bioprotective effect against free radical attacks. A decline in DNA damage was observed in post-treated cells which proves Chlorella vulgaris to present bioremediative properties. In cells induced with oxidative stress, telomere length decreased significantly coupled with a concomitant decline of telomerase activity (p<0.05). However, these reductions were prevented with prior and post treatment of Chlorella vulgaris. Therefore, we concluded that Chlorella vulgaris exhibited bioprotective effects especially in cells obtained from young donor but were more bioremediative for cells obtained from old donor as indicated by DNA damage, telomere shortening and reduction in telomerase activity.
Keywords: Chlorella vulgaris; DNA damage; ageing; telomerase; telomere.