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Pharmacognosy Res. 2016 Apr-Jun;8(2):118-22. doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.172660.

Inhibition of Pro-inflammatory Mediators and Cytokines by Chlorella Vulgaris Extracts.

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Department of Biotechnology, Indian Academy Degree College, Centre for Research and Post Graduate Studies, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.
Department of Genetics, Indian Academy Degree College, Centre for Research and Post Graduate Studies, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.



The aim of this study was to determine the in vitro anti-inflammatory activities of solvent fractions from Chlorella vulgaris by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory mediators and cytokines.


Methanolic extracts (80%) of C. vulgaris were prepared and partitioned with solvents of increasing polarity viz., n-hexane, chloroform, ethanol, and water. Various concentrations of the fractions were tested for cytotoxicity in RAW 264.7 cells using 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, and the concentrations inducing cell growth inhibition by about 50% (IC50) were chosen for further studies. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulated RAW 264.7 cells were treated with varying concentrations of C. vulgaris fractions and examined for its effects on nitric oxide (NO) production by Griess assay. The release of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and interleukin 6 (IL-6) were quantified using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using Celecoxib and polymyxin B as positive controls.


MTT assay revealed all the solvent fractions that inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent manner. Of all the extracts, 80% methanolic extract exhibited the strongest anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting NO production (P < 0.01), PGE2 (P < 0.05), TNF-α, and IL-6 (P < 0.001) release in LPS induced RAW 264.7 cells. Both hexane and chloroform fractions recorded a significant (P < 0.05) and dose-dependent inhibition of LPS induced inflammatory mediators and cytokines in vitro. The anti-inflammatory effect of ethanol and aqueous extracts was not significant in the study.


The significant inhibition of inflammatory mediators and cytokines by fractions from C. vulgaris suggests that this microalga would be a potential source of developing anti-inflammatory agents and a good alternate for conventional steroidal and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.


C. vulgaris extracts have potential anti-inflammatory activitySolvent extraction using methanol, hexane, and chloroform has exhibited significant effect in LPS activated RAW 264.7 cellsC. vulgaris extracts reduce the production of NO, PGE2, TNF-α, and IL-6 in LPS activated RAW 264.7 cells. Abbreviations Used: COX-2: Cyclooxygenase-2, DMSO: Dimethyl sulfoxide, FBS: Fetal bovine serum, IL-6: Interleukin 6, iNOS: Inducible nitric oxide synthase,


NG-methyl-L-arginine acetate salt, LPS: Lipopolysaccharide, MTT: 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide, NO: Nitric oxide, PBS: Phosphate buffered saline, PGE2: Prostaglandin E2, TNF-α: Tumor necrosis factor-α.


Anti-inflammatory; Chlorella vulgaris; Microalgae; Pro-inflammatory cytokines; Pro-inflammatory mediators

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