Extracts of Porphyra tenera (Nori Seaweed) Activate the Immune Response in Mouse RAW264.7 Macrophages via NF-κB Signaling

J Med Food. 2017 Dec;20(12):1152-1159. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2017.4014.


Porphyra tenera, also known as nori, is a red algal species of seaweed. It is cultivated in Asia for culinary purposes. We report that P. tenera extract (PTE) enhances the immune response in mouse macrophages. We found that P. tenera extract regulates the NF-κB IκB kinase (IKK) signaling pathway, and we assessed the expression and translocation of p65, a subunit of NF-κB, in RAW264.7 mouse macrophage cells after treatment with PTE. We also investigated the effects of 10% ethanol PTE (PTE10) in RAW264.7 cells. The production of IL-10, IL-6, TNF-α, and IFN-γ was induced by PTE treatment of the macrophages, and PTE also enhanced p-IκB and p-AKT. PTE10 showed no cytotoxicity at 10-20 μg/mL in RAW264.7 cells. PTE10, in fact, increased cell viability at 24 h, stimulated macrophage cells, and induced the phosphorylation of Akt. Akt stimulates IKK activity through the phosphorylation of IKKα and enhances immune activity through the activation of NF-κB. In this study, NF-κB activation was induced by increasing p-NF-κB and p-IKK. A subunit of NF-κB, p65, was located in the nucleus and increased the expression of various cytokines. PTE thus enhanced the immune response through IκB-α immunostimulation signaling in RAW264.7 cells. PTE10 has potential therefore for development of future treatments requiring immune system stimulation.

Keywords: AKT; NF-κB; Porphyra tenera; RAW264.7; cytokines; immune enhancement.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • I-kappa B Kinase / genetics
  • I-kappa B Kinase / immunology
  • Interleukin-10 / genetics
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / immunology
  • Macrophages / drug effects*
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Mice
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • NF-kappa B / immunology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Porphyra / chemistry*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / immunology
  • Seaweed / chemistry*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Interleukin-6
  • NF-kappa B
  • Plant Extracts
  • Interleukin-10
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • I-kappa B Kinase