Antioxidant and Cytotoxic Properties of Two Sea Cucumbers, Holothuria edulis Lesson and Stichopus horrens Selenka


Sea cucumbers are marine invertebrates of the phylum of Echinodermata that have been used in Asian traditional medicine since ancient times. This study was conducted to investigate the antioxidant and cytotoxic properties of aqueous and organic extracts from two sea cucumber species, Holothuria edulis Lesson (Holothuriidae) and Stichopus horrens Selenka (Stichopodidae). Antioxidant activities of the extracts were evaluated by DPPH· and β-carotene bleaching assays, while MTT and trypan blue exclusion assays were used to demonstrate the cytotoxic effects of the extracts against two human cancer cell lines, non-small cell lung cancer cells (A549) and esophageal cancer cells (TE1). The results showed that both aqueous and organic extracts of H. edulis were able to scavenge DPPH radical (IC50 at 2.04 mg/ml and 8.73 mg/ml, respectively). Aqueous and organic extracts of S. horrens inhibited 79.62% and 46.66% of β-carotene oxidation by linoleate free radical. On the other hand, the organic extract of S. horrens exhibited the highest cytotoxic effects against A549 and TE1 cancer cells giving IC50 at 15.5 and 4.0 μg/ml, respectively. In conclusion, the present study revealed that H. edulis and S. horrens contain promising levels of antioxidant and cytotoxic natural products that might be used for cancer prevention and treatment.


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The authors are thankful to the Research Management Center, IIUM for supporting this research (Grant number EDW B 1002-364). Also, we are very grateful to Prof. Dr. Masa-aki Ikeda; Department of Molecular and Carniofacial Embryology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, for generously providing the cell lines.

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Correspondence to O. Y. Althunibat.

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Althunibat, O.Y., Ridzwan, B.H., Taher, M. et al. Antioxidant and Cytotoxic Properties of Two Sea Cucumbers, Holothuria edulis Lesson and Stichopus horrens Selenka. BIOLOGIA FUTURA 64, 10–20 (2013).

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  • Antioxidant
  • cytotoxic
  • sea cucumber
  • Holothuria edulis
  • Stichopus horrens