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Mol Med Rep. 2018 Jan;17(1):1428-1436. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2017.8035. Epub 2017 Nov 13.

Fucoidan inhibits Ca2+ responses induced by a wide spectrum of agonists for G‑protein‑coupled receptors.

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Laboratory of Cell Imaging, Henan University of Chinese Medicine, Zhengzhou, Henan 450002, P.R. China.
The Research Institute of The McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, QC H4A 3J1, Canada.
Photon Medical Research Center, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 431‑3192, Japan.


Fucoidan, a sulfated polysaccharide extracted from brown seaweed, has been used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine to treat thyroid tumors for many years. Although a number of its cellular effects have been investigated, the role of fucoidan in molecular signaling, particularly in Ca2+ signaling, remains largely unknown. In the present study, the effects of fucoidan on Ca2+ responses in HeLa cells, human umbilical vein endothelial cells and astrocytes were investigated using a wide range of receptor agonists. Fucoidan inhibited the increase in intracellular free calcium concentration that was induced by histamine, ATP, compound 48/80 and acetylcholine. The responses induced by the same agonists in the absence of extracellular Ca2+ were also markedly suppressed by fucoidan. Reverse transcription‑polymerase chain reaction demonstrated that 0.5 and 1.0 mg/ml fucoidan treatment for 3 h decreased histamine receptor 1 expression in HeLa cells. Similarly, the expressions of purinergic receptor P2Y, G‑protein coupled (P2YR)1, P2YR2 and P2YR11 were significantly downregulated within cells pretreated with 1.0 mg/ml fucoidan for 3 h, and 0.5 mg/ml fucoidan significantly inhibited P2YR1 and P2YR11 expression. The results demonstrated that fucoidan may exert a wide spectrum of inhibitory effects on Ca2+ responses and that fucoidan may inhibit a number of different G‑protein coupled receptors associated with Ca2+ dynamics.

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