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Growth-inhibitory effect of a fucoidan from brown seaweed Undaria pinnatifida on Plasmodium parasites


The present study was undertaken to investigate the inhibitory effects of fucoidan, a sulfated polysaccharide isolated from the edible brown seaweed Undaria pinnatifida, on the growth of Plasmodium parasites. In order to assess the anti-malarial activity of fucoidan, growth inhibition activities were evaluated using cultured Plasmodium falciparum parasites in vitro and on Plasmodium berghei-infected mice in vivo. Fucoidan significantly inhibited the invasion of erythrocytes by P. falciparum merozoites, and its 50% inhibition concentration was similar to those for the chloroquine-sensitive P. falciparum 3D7 strain and the chloroquine-resistant K1 strain. Four-day suppressive testing in P. berghei-infected mice with fucoidan resulted in a 37% suppressive effect versus the control group and a delay in death associated with anemia (P < 0.05). In addition, fucoidans had no toxic effect on RAW 264.7 cells. These findings indicate that fucoidans from the Korean brown algae U. pinnatifida inhibits the invasion of Plasmodium merozoites into erythrocytes in vitro and in vivo.

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This work was supported by Inter-campus Research Funds from the Kangwon National University (2007). We are grateful to Dr. Lucio H. Freitas-Junior (Institut Pasteur Korea, Seoul, Korea), Dr. Takafumi Tsuboi (Ehime University, Matsuyama, Japan) and Dr. Yeon-Soo Han (Jeonman National University, Gwangju, Korea) for their kind gifts of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium berghei parasite strains, respectively.

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Correspondence to Eun-Taek Han.

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J.-H. Chen and J.-D. Lim contributed equally to this work.

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Chen, J., Lim, J., Sohn, E. et al. Growth-inhibitory effect of a fucoidan from brown seaweed Undaria pinnatifida on Plasmodium parasites. Parasitol Res 104, 245–250 (2009).

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  • Uronic Acid
  • Brown Seaweed
  • Plasmodium Knowlesi
  • Uronic Acid Content
  • Quinine Hydrochloride