Spinogenesis and Synaptogenesis Effects of the Red Seaweed Kappaphycus alvarezii and Its Isolated Cholesterol on Hippocampal Neuron Cultures

Prev Nutr Food Sci. 2019 Dec;24(4):418-425. doi: 10.3746/pnf.2019.24.4.418. Epub 2019 Dec 31.


Neurotrophic factors promote the formation of spines and synapses in neuron development and maintenance. Synaptic connections enhance memory in the brain. In this study, the effects of Kappaphycus alvarezii ethanolic extract (EKA) and its isolated cholesterol (iCHOL) on spinogenesis and synaptogenesis of hippocampal neurons were evaluated. Compared with the vehicle, both EKA and iCHOL significantly promoted generation of dendritic filopodia (2.4- and 2.2-fold, respectively) and spine (1.7- and 1.4-fold) formations in spinogenesis; they also increased presynaptic (3.6- and 2.6-fold), postsynaptic (2.5- and 2.9-fold), and cocolonized (3.8- and 3.0-fold) puncta, which enhances synaptic function (P< 0.05). Further, EKA- and iCHOL-treated neurons showed significantly improved functional presynaptic plasticity (1.6- and 1.4-fold, respectively, at 17 days in vitro; P<0.05). These results indicate that K. alverezii facilitates neuronal development, and support its use as a functional food to reduce neurological disorders and prevent brain aging via helping to reconstruct partially damaged neural networks.

Keywords: Kappaphycus alvarezii; cholesterol; hippocampal neuron; spinogenesis; synaptogenesis.