Cytotoxic and antimitotic activities in aqueous extracts of eight cyanobacterial strains isolated from the marine sponge Petrosia ficiformis

Toxicon. 2011 May;57(6):889-96. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2011.03.006. Epub 2011 Mar 15.


Marine cyanobacteria are photosynthetic prokaryotes of significant ecological interest, living free or in association with invertebrates. They are also considered as excellent sources of antineoplastic, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal compounds. In this work, aqueous extracts from eight cyanobacterial strains isolated from the Mediterranean sponge Petrosia ficiformis have been investigated for their bioactive properties. Bioassays with human erythrocytes, Artemia salina nauplii, and Paracentrotus lividus gametes and embryos were performed. Some aqueous extracts exhibited citolytic effect on human erythrocytes and toxic activity against A. salina nauplii. Furthermore antimitotic activity was evidenced during sea urchin embryos development and disorganization of blastomeres with altered cell-cell contact was also induced. Some of the isolated cyanobacterial strains, belonging to Leptolyngbya and Synechococcus genera with an high citotoxic activity, should be further investigated to better characterize their bioactive molecules. Our data confirm cyanobacteria as an interesting source of novel bioactive compounds with potential applications in pharmaceutics.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Artemia / drug effects
  • Biological Assay / methods
  • Cyanobacteria / chemistry*
  • Cyanobacteria / growth & development
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lethal Dose 50
  • Marine Toxins / isolation & purification*
  • Marine Toxins / toxicity*
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Petrosia / microbiology*
  • Sea Urchins / drug effects
  • Sea Urchins / embryology


  • Marine Toxins