Antitumor activity of Chlorella sorokiniana and Scenedesmus sp. microalgae native of Nuevo León State, México

PeerJ. 2018 Feb 9:6:e4358. doi: 10.7717/peerj.4358. eCollection 2018.


Cancer cases result in 13% of all deaths worldwide. Unwanted side effects in patients under conventional treatments have led to the search for beneficial alternative therapies. Microalgae synthesize compounds with known in vitro and in vivo biological activity against different tumor cell lines. Therefore, native microalgae from the State of Nuevo Leon, Mexico may become a potential source of antitumor agents. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the in vitro cytotoxic effect of Nuevo Leon regional Chlorella sorokiniana (Chlorellales: Chlorellaceae) and Scenedesmus sp. (Chlorococcales: Scenedesmaceae). Native microalgae crude organic extracts cytotoxicity against murine L5178Y-R lymphoma cell line and normal lymphocyte proliferation were evaluated using the MTT reduction colorimetric assay. Cell death pathway was analyzed by acridine orange and ethidium bromide staining, DNA degradation in 2% agarose gel electrophoresis and caspases activity. Results indicated significant (p < 0.05) 61.89% ± 3.26% and 74.77% ± 1.84% tumor cytotoxicity by C. sorokiniana and Scenedesmus sp. methanol extracts, respectively, at 500 µg/mL, by the mechanism of apoptosis. This study contributes to Mexican microalgae biodiversity knowledge and their potential as antitumor agent sources.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Cytotoxicity; Lymphoproliferation; Microalgae; Mouse lymphoma; Tumor cell toxicity.

Grants and funding

This research was supported by the National Council for Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACYT) to Raul Reyna-Martinez (scholarship No. 000496), the Laboratorio de Inmunología y Virología (LIV-DEMI-FCB-UANL) and PAICYT to Patricia Tamez-Guerra (grant No. CT294-15). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.