Planta Med 2010; 76 - P417
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1264715

Antiprotozoal and cytotoxic potential of British and Irish red algae

A Allmendinger 1, J Spavieri 1, M Kaiser 2, M Guiry 3, G Blunden 4, D Tasdemir 1
  • 1Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy, School of Pharmacy, University of London, 29–39 Brunswick Square, wc1n 1ax London, United Kingdom
  • 2Department of Medical Parasitology and Infection Biology, Swiss Tropical Institute, Socinstrasse 57, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland
  • 3Martin Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland, University Road, 1 Galway, Ireland
  • 4School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Portsmouth, White Swan Road, PO1 2DT Portsmouth, United Kingdom

Marine algae are a prolific source of diverse natural products, but their biomedical potential has barely been explored. As part of our continuing research on seaweeds [1], we have screened crude extracts of 23 marine red algae (Rhodophyta) collected from Britain and Ireland. Algal material was extracted with CHCl3: MeOH mixtures (3:1 and 1:1) at room temperature and evaporated to dryness in vacuo before use in bioassays. The clinically important blood-stage life forms of Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, T. cruzi and Leishmania donovani were used as test organisms in the in vitro assays. The selective toxicity of the extracts was determined towards mammalian skeletal myoblast (L6) cells. All algal extracts showed activity against T. brucei rhodesiense, with Corallina officinalis (Corallinaceae) and Ceramium virgatum (Ceramiaceae) being the most potent (IC50 values 4.8 and 5.4µg/ml, respectively), whilst none of the algal extracts inhibited the growth of T. cruzi. With the exception of a Porphyra leucosticta (Bangiaceae) extract, all seaweed extracts also displayed leishmanicidal activity with IC50 values ranging from 16.5 to 85.6µg/ml. Corallina officinalis was the only seaweed that showed some marginal cytotoxicity (IC50 value 88.6µg/ml), whereas all remaining extracts were non-toxic towards L6 cells at 90µg/ml concentration. To our knowledge, this is the first study reporting antiprotozoal activity of British and Irish red algae.

References: 1. Orhan, I. et al. (2006) Phytomedicine 13:388–393.