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Med Hypotheses. 2011 Dec;77(6):1031-3. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2011.08.041. Epub 2011 Sep 13.

Clinical potential of phycocyanobilin for induction of T regulatory cells in the management of inflammatory disorders.

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NutriGuard Research, 1051 Hermes Ave., Encinitas, CA 92024, United States.


Exposure of human mononuclear cells to phycocyanin in vitro is reported to promote generation of Treg cells. Induction of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in lymphocytes has a similar effect, and it is not likely to be accidental that a key product of HO-1 activity, biliverdin, is homologous to the structure of phycocyanin's chromophore phycocyanobilin (PhyCB). Moreover, Treg induction is observed in mice injected with bilirubin, biliverdin's chief metabolite. These considerations suggest that bilirubin, generated within lymphocytes by HO-1 activation, may play a physiological role in the promotion of Treg immunomodulation. This effect of bilirubin is likely to be independent of NADPH oxidase inhibition, since the NAPDH oxidase activity of macrophages is necessary for Treg induction, possibly because it contributes to HO-1 induction in lymphocytes. In light of numerous reports that oral phycocyanin is beneficial in various rodent models of autoimmune disorders, it is reasonable to suspect that PhyCB-enriched spirulina extracts may have clinical potential for boosting Treg activity in human autoimmune or allergic syndromes, mimicking the physiological role of HO-1 induction in this regard.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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