Objective: Phycocyanin is a pigment found in blue-green algae which contains open chain tetrapyrroles with possible scavenging properties. We have studied its antioxidant properties.
Materials and methods: Phycocyanin was evaluated as a putative antioxidant in vitro by using: a) luminol-enhanced chemiluminescence (LCL) generated by three different radical species (O2-, OH., RO.) and by zymosan activated human polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNLs), b) deoxyribose assay and c) inhibition of liver microsomal lipid peroxidation induced by Fe+2-ascorbic acid. The antioxidant activity was also assayed in vivo in glucose oxidase (GO)-induced inflammation in mouse paw.
Results: The results indicated that phycocyanin is able to scavenge OH. (IC50 = 0.91 mg/mL) and RO. (IC50 = 76 microg/mL) radicals, with activity equivalent to 0.125 mg/mL of dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) and 0.038 microg/mL of trolox, specific scavengers of those radicals respectively. In the deoxyribose assay the second-order rate constant was 3.56 x 10(11) M(-1) S(-1), similar to that obtained for some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Phycocyanin also inhibits liver microsomal lipid peroxidation (IC50 = 12 mg/mL), the CL response of PMNLs (p < 0.05) as well as the edema index in GO-induced inflammation in mouse paw (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: To our knowledge this is the first report of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of c-phycocyanin.