Selenium-Containing Phycocyanin from Se-Enriched Spirulina platensis Reduces Inflammation in Dextran Sulfate Sodium-Induced Colitis by Inhibiting NF-κB Activation

J Agric Food Chem. 2016 Jun 22;64(24):5060-70. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.6b01308. Epub 2016 Jun 7.


Selenium (Se) plays an important role in fine-tuning immune responses. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) involves hyperresponsive immunity of the digestive tract, and a low Se level might aggravate IBD progression; however, the beneficial effects of natural Se-enriched diets on IBD remain unknown. Previously, we developed high-yield Se-enriched Spirulina platensis (Se-SP) as an excellent organic nutritional Se source. Here we prepared Se-containing phycocyanin (Se-PC) from Se-SP and observed that Se-PC administration effectively reduced the extent of colitis in mouse induced by dextran sulfate sodium. Supplementation with Se-PC resulted in significant protective effects, including mitigation of body weight loss, bloody diarrhea, and colonic inflammatory damage. The anti-inflammatory effects of Se-PC supplementation were found to involve modulation of cytokines, including IL-6, TNF-α, MCP-1, and IL-10. Mechanistically, Se-PC inhibited the activation of macrophages by suppressing the nuclear translocation of NF-κB, which is involved in the transcription of these pro-inflammatory cytokines. These results together suggest potential benefits of Se-PC as a functional Se supplement to reduce the symptoms of IBD.

Keywords: IBD; NF-κB pathway; Spirulina platensis; phycocyanin; selenium.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colitis / chemically induced
  • Colitis / drug therapy*
  • Colitis / genetics
  • Colitis / immunology
  • Dextran Sulfate / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / genetics
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / immunology
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • NF-kappa B / immunology
  • Phycocyanin / administration & dosage*
  • Phycocyanin / analysis
  • Selenium / analysis*
  • Spirulina / chemistry*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology


  • Interleukin-6
  • NF-kappa B
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Phycocyanin
  • Interleukin-10
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Selenium