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Adv Food Nutr Res. 2011;64:443-54. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-387669-0.00034-X.

Extracts of marine algae show inhibitory activity against osteoclast differentiation.

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Graduate School of Marine Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan.


Osteoclasts are multinucleated cells that play a crucial role in bone resorption. The imbalance between bone resorption and bone formation results in osteoporosis. Therefore, substances that can suppress osteoclast formation are potential candidate materials for drug development or functional foods. There have been reports that extracts or purified compounds from marine micro- and macroalgae can suppress osteoclast differentiation. Symbioimine, isolated from the cultured dinoflagellate Symbiodinium sp., had suppressive effects against osteoclast differentiation in osteoclast-like cells. Norzoanthamine, isolated from the colonial zoanthid Zoanthas sp., has been shown to have antiosteoporosis activity in ovariectomized mice. With regard to marine extracts, the fucoxanthin-rich component from brown algae has been shown to have suppressive effects against osteoclast differentiation. An extract of Sargassum fusiforme has recently been shown to have antiosteoporosis activity. This extract suppressed both osteoclast differentiation and accelerated osteoblast formation in separate in vitro experiments. It also showed antiosteoporosis activity in ovariectomized mice by regulating the balance between bone resorption and bone formation. These marine algae and their extracts may be sources of marine medicinal foods for the prevention of osteoporosis.

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