The Inhibitory Effect of C-phycocyanin Containing Protein Extract (C-PC Extract) on Human Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMP-2 and MMP-9) in Hepatocellular Cancer Cell Line (HepG2)

Protein J. 2017 Jun;36(3):186-195. doi: 10.1007/s10930-017-9707-0.


Spirulina platensis :have been studied for several biological activities. In the current study C-phycocyanin containing protein extract (C-PC extract) of Spirulina platensis have been studied for its effect on human matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-1, MMP-2 and MMP-9) and tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMP-1 and TIMP-2). In the present study, breast cancer cell line (MDA-MB 231) and hepatocellular cancer cell line (HepG2) were examined for inhibition of MMPs at different levels of expression after C-PC extract treatment. Herein, we have demonstrated that C-PC extract significantly reduced activity of MMP-2 by 55.13% and MMP-9 by 57.9% in HepG2 cells at 15 μg concentration. Additionally, the treatment has reduced mRNA expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 at 20 μg concentration by 1.65-folds and 1.66-folds respectively. The C-PC extract treatment have also downregulated a mRNA expression of TIMP-2 by 1.12 folds at 20 μg concentration in HepG2 cells. Together, these results indicate that C-PC, extract successfully inhibited MMP-2 and -9 at different levels of expression and TIMP-2 at a mRNA expression level; however, extract did not have any effect on MMP-1 expressed in MDA-MB231 and TIMP-1 expressed in HepG2 cells as well as the exact mechanism of inhibition of MMP-2, MMP-9 and TIMP-2 remained unclear.

Keywords: C-phycocyanin; Cancer; Matrix metalloproteinases; Spirulina platensis; Tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / enzymology*
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Neoplasm Proteins* / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Neoplasm Proteins* / metabolism
  • Phycocyanin / chemistry
  • Phycocyanin / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Spirulina / chemistry*


  • Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Plant Extracts
  • Phycocyanin
  • MMP2 protein, human
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • MMP9 protein, human
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9