Inhibitory effect of unicellular green algae (Chlorella vulgaris) water extract on allergic immune response

J Sci Food Agric. 2013 Sep;93(12):3133-6. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6114. Epub 2013 Apr 5.


Background: Chlorella is used as a functional food in East Asia and has been shown to enhance immune system function. However, there has been no direct evidence of the suppressive effect of a hot water extract of Chlorella vulgaris (CVE) on histamine-mediated allergic responses.

Results: The antihistamine activity of CVE was analysed using rat peritoneal mast cells (RPMCs) stimulated by compound 48/80. For in vivo verification, ovalbumin (OVA)-immunised BALB/c mice were treated with CVE orally. Serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels and splenocyte cytokine levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). CVE prevented histamine release through degranulation of mast cells by blocking the uptake of extracellular Ca²⁺ into RPMCs. Moreover, CVE administration inhibited serum IgE overproduction by OVA via induction of T helper 1 (Th1) skewing that was dependent on interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin 12 (IL-12) secretion.

Conclusion: The results of this study clearly demonstrate that CVE acts as an antiallergic dietary agent by suppressing histamine release via its enhancive effect on Th1-related responses.

Keywords: Chlorella vulgaris water extract (CVE); IgE; Th1; histamine; mast cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / metabolism
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Basophil Degranulation Test
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chlorella vulgaris / chemistry*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Histamine Antagonists / metabolism
  • Histamine Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Histamine Release
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Hypersensitivity / metabolism
  • Hypersensitivity / pathology
  • Hypersensitivity / prevention & control*
  • Interferon-gamma Release Tests
  • Interleukin-12 / metabolism
  • Mast Cells / cytology
  • Mast Cells / immunology
  • Mast Cells / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / metabolism
  • Th1 Cells / pathology


  • Anti-Allergic Agents
  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Plant Extracts
  • Interleukin-12