Cytotoxicity of algae extracts on normal and malignant cells

Leuk Res Treatment. 2011;2011:373519. doi: 10.4061/2011/373519. Epub 2011 Jan 5.

Abstract

Algae preparations are commonly used in alternative medicine. We examined the effects of algae extracts on normal hematopoietic cells and leukemia cells. Ethanol extracts were prepared of Dunaliella salina (Dun), Astaxanthin (Ast), Spirulina platensis (Spir), and Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA). Cell viability effects were completed by Annexin staining. Ast and AFA inhibited HL-60 and MV-4-11 whereas Dun and Spir had no effect. Primary AML blasts demonstrated increased apoptosis in AFA. Primary CLL cells showed apoptosis at 24 hours after exposure to Dun, Ast, Spir, and AFA. High AFA concentrations decreased viability of normal marrow cells. Normal CD34+ viability was inhibited by Dun. Dun and AFA inhibited BFU-E, but all extracts inhibited CFU-GM. Cell-cycle analysis of AML cell lines showed G0/G1 arrest in the presence of AFA. These data suggest that algae extracts may inhibit AML cell lines and leukemia blasts, but they may also have potential inhibitory effects on normal hematopoiesis.