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Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2015 Nov;40(3):758-63. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2015.09.005. Epub 2015 Sep 12.

Epigenetic modulation of Chlorella (Chlorella vulgaris) on exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

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College of Pharmacy, Sookmyoung Women's University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:
Wide River Institute of Immunology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Division of Pulmonology, Department of Internal Medicine, the Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, USA.


DNA methylation in promoter region can be a new chemopreventive marker against polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). We performed a randomized, double blind and cross-over trial (N=12 healthy females) to evaluate chlorella (Chlorella vulgaris)-induced epigenetic modulation on exposure to PAHs. The subjects consumed 4 tablets of placebo or chlorella supplement (total chlorophyll ≈ 8.3mg/tablet) three times a day before meals for 2 weeks. When the subjects consumed chlorella, status of global hypermethylation (5-methylcytosine) was reduced, compared to placebo (p=0.04). However, DNA methylation at the DNMT1 or NQO1 was not modified by chlorella. We observed the reduced levels of urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP), a typical metabolite of PAHs, by chlorella intake (p<0.1) and a positive association between chlorella-induced changes in global hypermethylation and urinary 1-OHP (p<0.01). Therefore, our study suggests chlorella works for PAH-detoxification through the epigenetic modulation, the interference of ADME of PAHs and the interaction of mechanisms.


Chlorella; Clinical trial; Epigenetic; Global methylation; Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

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