, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 187–193 | Cite as

Caulerpa taxifolia inhibits cell proliferation and induces oxidative stress in breast cancer cells

  • Richa Mehra
  • Satej Bhushan
  • Umesh Prasad Yadav
  • Felix Bast
  • Sandeep SinghEmail author
Original Article


Caulerpa taxifolia (M. Vahl) C. Agardh or killer alga is known to possess several bioactive secondary metabolites with unique structural modifications. We investigated anti-oxidant and anti-proliferative activity of C. taxifolia extract (CTE) on breast and lung cancer cells, along with possible effects on mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and cell cycle progression. The results revealed up to 6-folds increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS), 2-folds increase in glutathione reductase (GR) activity, 1.7-fold increase in superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and 1.8-fold change in catalase activity w.r.t. untreated cells i.e. 10.72 to 21.44 nmol/min/mL, 2.0 to 3.49 U/mL and 37.51 to 69.26 U/min/g FW, respectively, in MDA-MB-cells. Likewise, selective anti-proliferative activity with IC50 0.19 + 0.1, 0.27 + 0.1, and 0.43 + 0.1 μg/μL, was recorded in MDA-MB-231, T-47D, and H1299 cells. In addition, dose-dependent increase in MMP of up to 40% and G1/S phase mitotic arrest was documented by CTE treatment in MDA-MB-231 cells. The results suggest an anti-proliferative and oxidative stress inducing activity of CTE. Changes in MMP and cell cycle arrest further support the anti-cancer effects of CTE. It is believed that C. taxifolia may be considered as a potent source of anti-cancer drugs, subject to further validations.


Caulerpa taxifolia Marine alga Killer alga Cancer Oxidative stress 



Caulerpa taxifolia extract




Reaction oxygen species


Mitochondrial membrane potential


Glutathione reductase


Superoxide dismutase


Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells


5,5’,6,6’-tetraethylbenzimidazolylcarbocyanine iodide


Dulbecco’s modified eagle medium




phosphate saline buffer


3-4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide



All authors acknowledge Central University of Punjab, for providing the necessary infrastructure and resources.

Authors’ contributions

RM and SB conducted all the lab experiments. UPY did cell cycle analysis. SS designed the experiments and all authors contributed in writing the manuscript. The final manuscript is read and approved by all authors.


RM acknowledges Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India, for providing financial assistance as Junior Research Fellowship. SB acknowledges Ministry of Earth Sciences, India-Drugs from Sea programme (MoES-DFS) for financial assistance. UPY acknowledges CSIR for providing PhD fellowship (CSIR-JRF). FB acknowledges MoES-DSF for research grant. SS acknowledges Department of Science & Technology, India-Science and Engineering Research Board (DST-SERB) extra mural grant for financial assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Not Applicable.

Consent for publication

Not Applicable.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Slovak Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Advanced Technology Platform Centre, Regional Centre for BiotechnologyFaridabadIndia
  2. 2.Centre for BiosciencesCentral University of PunjabBathindaIndia
  3. 3.Department of Human Genetics and Molecular MedicineCentral University of PunjabBathindaIndia
  4. 4.Department of Plant SciencesCentral University of PunjabBathindaIndia

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