BioMed Research International

BioMed Research International / 2019 / Article

Research Article | Open Access

Volume 2019 |Article ID 3104057 | 7 pages | https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/3104057

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Aurantiochytrium limacinum 4W-1b Ethanol Extract on Murine Macrophage RAW264 Cells

Academic Editor: Marija Mostarica-Stojković
Received15 Oct 2018
Revised28 Dec 2018
Accepted13 Jan 2019
Published28 Jan 2019

Abstract

Aurantiochytrium limacinum 4W-1b (AL4W-1b) is a newly discovered microalgal strain with unique features. In the present study, we investigated the effects of ethanol extracts of AL4W-1b on lipopolysaccharide- (LPS-) induced inflammatory responses in RAW264 murine macrophage cells. Pretreatment of RAW264 cells with the AL4W-1b extract significantly reduced the production of LPS-induced nitric oxide (NO) and the expression of proinflammatory cytokine genes, including tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin- (IL-) 1β, and IL-6. Treatment with the AL4W-1b extract also decreased the production of IL-1β and IL-6. These results suggest that AL4W-1b might have anti-inflammatory effects in RAW264 cells. The NF-κB inhibitor, BAY 11-7082, synergistically prevented LPS-induced NO production after pretreatment with the AL4W-1b extract. Thus, the AL4W-1b extract may affect not only the NF-κB pathway but also other inflammatory pathways. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to report the anti-inflammatory effects of AL4W-1b extract and its mechanism of action in LPS-stimulated murine macrophage cells.

1. Introduction

Inflammatory response is an important mechanism for host defense, but chronic inflammation is the underlying cause of several diseases including atherosclerosis, dementia, and cancer. Macrophages are the primary proinflammatory cells, and during inflammation, they produce inflammatory mediators such as nitric oxide (NO) and inflammatory cytokines. Although nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are generally used for chronic inflammation, they have undesirable side effects when chronically used. Therefore, there is a critical need to identify natural products with anti-inflammatory properties that can be used as a substitute.

In recent years, microalgae have been attracting attention not only as new biomass energy but also as a health food and novel medicine. A water-extracted fraction of Botryococcus braunii showed biological activities of dermatological interest [1]. Additionally, an ethanol extract of B. braunii showed antidepressant-like effects in a mouse behavior test [2]. Several studies have reported the anti-inflammatory effects of microalgal extracts on mammalian cells [35]. However, it is still necessary to explore more potent and biologically active novel compounds from these organisms.

Heterotrophic microalga Aurantiochytrium belongs to the thraustochytrid family and has been reported to contain an abundance of bioactive substances [6, 7]. The Aurantiochytrium mangrovei 18W-13a (AM18W-13a) strain has very high efficiency of hydrocarbon (e.g., squalene) production [7]. In a previous study, we showed the anti-inflammatory effects of microalgal strain AM18W-13a on murine macrophage RAW264 cells [8].

To identify novel microalgae possessing anti-inflammatory effects, we evaluated the anti-inflammatory effects of microalgal species other than AM18W-13a using our system. In this study, we examined the effects of algal ethanol extracts from the following microalgae: B. braunii, Parietichytrium sarkarianum, Euglena gracilis, and Aurantiochytrium limacinum 4W-1b (AL4W-1b). B. braunii BOT-22 is an autotrophic microalga that is known to produce extracellular hydrocarbons [9]. E. gracilis is also an autotrophic microalga that has been shown to accumulate polysaccharides such as β-1,3-glucan (paramylon), which acts as an immune-enhancer [10, 11]. P. sarkarianum, a type of thraustochytrid, accumulates long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA); however, it seems that its accumulation of docosahexaenoic acids (DHA, 22:6n-3), a type of PUFA, is lower than that by Aurantiochytrium [12, 13]. AL4W-1b produces lipids and fatty acids, including the DHA, docosapentaenoic acid (DPA, 22:5n-3), and palmitic acid (16:0), but it shows lower production of squalene [14]. DHA has various physiological functions, such as anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and antidepression effects, and has been commercially used as a dietary supplement. DPA is also a kind of PUFA and has inhibitory effects on angiogenesis and platelet aggregation [15, 16]. The main source of DHA is fish oil, and other sources of DPA include seal meat and salmon, but thraustochytrids might also be a source of these PUFAs [17, 18]. To investigate the effects of functional compounds on a proinflammatory model system, lipopolysaccharide- (LPS-) stimulated RAW264 cells were employed [8]. Among the four types of microalgal extracts, we found that the AL4W-1b extract had the most effective anti-inflammatory activity. In the present study, we evaluated, for the first time, the anti-inflammatory activity of ethanol extracts of the AL4W-1b strain in LPS-stimulated murine macrophage RAW264 cells.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Preparation of Microalgal Extracts

All samples of microalgae, AL4W-1b, B. braunii BOT-22, P. sarkarianum 6F-10b, E. gracilis EOD-1, and AM18W-13a (provided by the Algae Biomass and Energy System R&D Center, University of Tsukuba, Japan) were lyophilized. The lyophilized powdered algal (0.5 g) extracts were obtained by adding 5 mL of 99.5% ethanol (EtOH) to the lyophilized powder and keeping the solution in a dark at room temperature for two weeks. After centrifugation, the supernatant of each extracted sample was filtered using a 0.22 μm filter unit. The final solution of the extract was then stored in the dark at -80°C until use.

2.2. Cell Culture of RAW264 Cells

RAW264 murine macrophage cells (RCB0535, RIKEN BRC, Tsukuba, Japan) were cultured in Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s Medium (DMEM) supplemented with 10% heat-inactivated fetal bovine serum (FBS) and 1% penicillin-streptomycin at 37°C in a humidified incubator containing 5% CO2. Cells were seeded in 96-well cell culture plates at a density of 2.0 × 104 cells per well and were incubated at 37°C for 24 h.

2.3. Cell Proliferation Assay

The effects of the microalgal extracts on cell proliferation were determined by the mitochondrion-dependent reduction of 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) to formazan [19] as described in our previous study [8]. In brief, RAW264 cells were treated with or without AL4W-1b extract at concentrations ranging from 1/10,000 to 1/100 at 37°C for 24 h. After the treatment, MTT solution was added to each well and incubated at 37°C for 4 h. After dissolving the resulting formazan crystals in each sample using 5% SDS, the absorbance was measured at 570 nm using a microplate reader (Power Scan HT, BioTEK Japan Inc.). The values were calculated as a percentage (%) of the control.

2.4. Measurement of NO Production

The concentration of nitrite oxide (NO) was measured using a Griess diazotization reaction [20] as described in our previous study [8]. In brief, RAW264 cells were treated with or without microalgal extract at 37°C for 24 h. After the pretreatment, LPS solution (1 ng/mL) was added to RAW264 cells and cells were incubated at 37°C for 12 h. Then, the supernatants of cell culture medium were used in a Griess reaction assay. The absorbance was measured at 540 nm using a microplate reader.

2.5. Gene Expression and Protein Expression Analysis

Gene expression and protein analysis was performed as described by Takahashi et al. [8]. For the quantification of mRNA, TaqMan real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification reactions were performed using an Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast Real-Time System (Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., Waltham, MA). All primers and the TaqMan Universal PCR Master Mix were obtained from Thermo Fisher Scientific. Specific primers for the mouse genes Gapdh (Mm99999915_g1), interleukin- (IL-) 6 (Mm00446190_m1), TNFα (Mm00443258_m1), and IL-1β (Mm00434228_m1) were used. Gene expression levels were normalized to the Gapdh expression level.

To measure the protein expression, the amounts of IL-6 and IL-1β in RAW264 cells were assayed in the supernatant of the cell culture medium using the Bio-Plex Pro™ Mouse Cytokine Assay kit (BIO-RAD, USA) with a MAGPIX xPONENT 4.2 system (Merck Millipore Co, USA).

2.6. Treatment with the NF-κB Inhibitor

RAW264 cells were pretreated with AL4W-1b extract for 24 h and treated with or without BAY 11-7082 (WAKO Pure Chemical), an NF-κB inhibitor, at 10 μM before treatment with LPS. After 12 h of treatment with LPS, NO production was measured.

2.7. Statistical Analysis

Statistical evaluations were performed using Student’s t-test. Values were considered statistically significant if p < 0.01.

3. Results and Discussion

First, we checked the cell proliferation and anti-inflammatory abilities of ethanol extracts of four species of microalgae including AL4W-1b. The cytotoxicities of the ethanol extracts of four species of microalgae were evaluated by MTT assay. The ethanol extracts of the algal samples were diluted at 0.0002, 0.001, 0.002, 0.01 and 0.02% (1/5000, 1/1000, 1/500, 1/100, and 1/50, respectively) in culture medium. In all algal samples, concentrations ranging from 1/5000 to 1/1000 did not affect the viability of the RAW264 cells (Figures 1(a)1(d)). Therefore, algal samples diluted at 1/5000 and 1/1000 were used for the following assays.

We measured NO production of the LPS-stimulated RAW264 cells pretreated with the algae samples. Only pretreatment with 1/5000 and 1/1000 of AL4W-1b extract caused a reduction, by about 80% and 40%, respectively, in NO production as compared with no pretreatment of the AL4W-1b extract (Figure 1(e)). Therefore, the AL4W-1b extract had positive effects on anti-inflammatory effects with regard to LPS-stimulation-related schemes.

In addition, we compared the effects of ethanol extract originating from AL4W-1b and AM18W-13a on LPS-stimulated NO production in RAW264 cells. The AL4W-1b decreased NO production but was slightly less effective than AM18W-13a (Figure 2).

To determine the effects of the AL4W-1b extract on the expression of proinflammation cytokines, we measured the gene expression of TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 in LPS-stimulated cells with the AL4W-1b extract pretreatment by the real-time reverse transcription (RT) PCR method. Pretreatment with 1/1000 AL4W-1b extract suppressed expression of these genes as compared to those in only LPS-stimulated cells (Figure 3).

We also measured amounts of two proinflammatory cytokine proteins, IL1β and IL6, in the AL4W-1b extract pretreated cells by the ELISA method. Pretreatments with 1/5000 and 1/1000 AL4W-1b extract reduced expression of IL1β by 60.2% and 26.9%, respectively, compared to those cells stimulated with LPS alone (Figure 4(a)). Pretreatments with 1/5000 and 1/1000 AL4W-1b extract also reduced the expression of IL-6 by 25.1% and 4.7%, respectively (Figure 4(b)). These results show that AL4W-1b extract can suppress proinflammatory related genes and the amounts of their translated proteins.

In this study, we showed that AL4W-1b extract suppressed NO production and protein and gene expression of proinflammatory cytokines. According to these results, the AL4W-1b extract also possesses anti-inflammatory properties.

G protein-coupled receptor 120 (GPR120) is known as a receptor of omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA, and mediates anti-inflammatory effects in RAW264.7 cells [21]. In recent reports, DHA was shown to activate cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2), cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2), and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production via GPR120, and resulted in the inhibition of IL-6 production via the NF-κB pathway, which is an important proinflammatory pathway for mammalian cells, in RAW264.7 cells [22]. DPA also suppresses the gene expression of IL-6, IL-1β, iNOS, and cox-2, which are known to be proinflammatory mediators, in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 cells [18]. On the other hand, palmitic acid activates proinflammatory signaling, which is triggered by Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 and TLR2 in RAW264.7 cells [23].

In a previous study, we showed that an ethanol extract of the AM18W-13a strain had anti-inflammatory effects on RAW 264 cells [8]. The AM18W-13a strain is rich in hydrocarbons and squalene, whereas it has a relatively low abundance of lipid compounds [7, 24]. AL4W-1b is rich in the fatty acids DHA, DPA, and palmitic acid, which constitute 17.2–27.9%, 3.6–3.9%, and 46.9–52.6% of total fatty acids, respectively, and the concentrations of which vary depending on glucose concentration in the growth medium [14]. These previous reports indicate that AL4W-1b contains DHA and DPA as the major PUFA components [14]. Thus, we predicted that the DHA and/or DPA accumulated in AL4W-1b would show anti-inflammatory effects on LPS-stimulated proinflammation in RAW264 cells. The AL4W-1b showed anti-inflammatory effects but was slightly less effective than AM18W-13a. AM18W-13a also accumulates DHA and DPA [25]. AM18W-13a is rich in squalene and has fewer triglycerides, while AL4W-1b is abundant in triglycerides but has very low amounts of squalene [7]. Thus, we predicted that the squalene and some types of triglycerides were active compounds in the AM18W-13a and AL4W-1b strains, respectively. These two strains may possess different active compounds with regard to their respective inflammatory effects. However, we have not clarified the actual active compounds of either AL4W-1b or AM18W-13a. Further research is needed to identify the active compounds in these two strains.

In this study, we did not clarify the mechanisms of the reduction in proinflammatory response of AL4W-1b extracts. In preliminary experiments, we observed that treatment with BAY11-7082, which is known to inhibit the dephosphorylation of IκB and translocation of NF-κB [26], synergistically prevented the proinflammatory responses with AL4W-1b extract. We found that pretreatment of RAW264 cells with BAY11-7082 after treatment with the AL4W-1b extracts more effectively suppressed LPS-stimulated NO production compared to pretreatment with BAY11-7082 or AL4W-1b extracts alone (Figure 5). Based on this result, the AL4W-1b extract may inhibit not only the NF-κB pathway but also other pathways concerned with inflammatory effects; e.g., the MAPK pathway or PI3K pathways. In the future, we need to clarify the evidence regarding these.

4. Conclusions

In conclusion, we evaluated nitrite oxide (NO) production and proinflammatory cytokine expression in algal extract-treated cells. Ethanol extracts of the AL4W-1b cells showed suppression of LPS-induced NO production and expression of proinflammatory cytokines. These results suggest that AL4W-1b extracts possess anti-inflammatory properties.

Data Availability

The data used to support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.

Conflicts of Interest

There were no conflicts of interest in this study.

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Natsumi Inoue (University of Tsukuba) for her technical support. We also thank Shinji Kayano (Sobio Technologies Inc.), Hidenori Michikawa (Sobio Technologies Inc.), and Yuki Sakai (Sobio Technologies Inc.) for cultivation of microalgae. This study was supported by the Fukushima Algae Project. This research was partially supported by the Center of Innovation Program from Japan Science and Technology Agency, JST.

References

  1. S. Buono, A. L. Langellotti, A. Martello et al., “Biological activities of dermatological interest by the water extract of the microalga Botryococcus braunii,” Archives of Dermatological Research, vol. 304, no. 9, pp. 755–764, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  2. K. Sasaki, M. B. Othman, M. Demura, M. Watanabe, and H. Isoda, “Modulation of neurogenesis through the promotion of energy production activity is behind the antidepressant-like effect of colonial green alga, Botryococcus braunii,” Frontiers in Physiology, vol. 8, Article 900, 2017. View at: Google Scholar
  3. R. C. Robertson, F. Guihéneuf, B. Bahar et al., “The anti-inflammatory effect of algae-derived lipid extracts on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated human THP-1 macrophages,” Marine Drugs, vol. 13, no. 8, pp. 5402–5424, 2015. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  4. G. Sibi and S. Rabina, “Inhibition of Pro-inflammatory mediators and cytokines by Chlorella Vulgaris extracts,” Pharmacognosy Research, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 118–122, 2016. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  5. W. Soontornchaiboon, S. S. Joo, and S. M. Kim, “Anti-inflammatory effects of violaxanthin isolated from microalga Chlorella ellipsoidea in RAW 264.7 macrophages,” Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, vol. 35, no. 7, pp. 1137–1144, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  6. M. Gao, X. Song, Y. Feng, W. Li, and Q. Cui, “Isolation and characterization of Aurantiochytrium species: High docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) production by the newly isolated microalga, Aurantiochytrium sp. SD116,” Journal of Oleo Science, vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 143–151, 2013. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  7. A. Nakazawa, H. Matsuura, R. Kose et al., “Optimization of culture conditions of the thraustochytrid Aurantiochytrium sp. strain 18W-13a for squalene production,” Bioresource Technology, vol. 109, pp. 287–291, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  8. S. Takahashi, M. Sakamaki, F. Ferdousi et al., “Ethanol extract of Aurantiochytrium mangrovei 18w-13a strain possesses anti-inflammatory effects on murine macrophage RAW264 Cells,” Frontiers in Physiology, vol. 9, Article 1205, 2018. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  9. N. Yonezawa, H. Matsuura, M. Shiho, K. Kaya, and M. M. Watanabe, “Effects of soybean curd wastewater on the growth and hydrocarbon production of Botryococcus braunii strain BOT-22,” Bioresource Technology, vol. 109, pp. 304–307, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  10. Y. Tanaka, T. Ogawa, T. Maruta, Y. Yoshida, K. Arakawa, and T. Ishikawa, “Glucan synthase-like 2 is indispensable for paramylon synthesis in Euglena gracilis,” FEBS Letters, vol. 591, no. 10, pp. 1360–1370, 2017. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  11. F. Y. Yamamoto, F. Yin, W. Rossi, M. Hume, and D. M. Gatlin, “β-1,3 glucan derived from Euglena gracilis and Algamune™ enhances innate immune responses of red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus L.),” Fish and Shellfish Immunology, vol. 77, pp. 273–279, 2018. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  12. R. Yokoyama, B. Salleh, and D. Honda, “Taxonomic rearrangement of the genus Ulkenia sensu lato based on morphology, chemotaxonomical characteristics, and 18S rRNA gene phylogeny (Thraustochytriaceae, Labyrinthulomycetes): Emendation for Ulkenia and erection of Botryochytrium, Parietichytrium, and Sicyoidochytrium gen. nov,” Mycoscience, vol. 48, no. 6, pp. 329–341, 2007. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  13. T. Sato, K. Ishihara, T. Shimizu, J. Aoya, and M. Yoshida, “Laboratory Scale Culture of Early-Stage Kuruma Shrimp Marsupenaeus japonicus Larvae Fed on Thraustochytrids Aurantiochytrium and Parietichytrium,” Journal of Shellfish Research, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 571–580, 2018. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  14. A. Nakazawa, H. Matsuura, R. Kose et al., “Optimization of Biomass and Fatty Acid Production by Aurantiochytrium sp. Strain 4W-1b,” Procedia Environmental Sciences, vol. 15, pp. 27–33, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  15. M. Phang, M. L. Garg, and A. J. Sinclair, “Inhibition of platelet aggregation by omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is gender specific-Redefining platelet response to fish oils,” Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, vol. 81, no. 1, pp. 35–40, 2009. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  16. M. Tsuji, S.-I. Murota, and I. Morita, “Docosapentaenoic acid (22:5, n-3) suppressed tube-forming activity in endothelial cells induced by vascular endothelial growth factor,” Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, vol. 68, no. 5, pp. 337–342, 2003. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  17. I. M. Aasen, H. Ertesvåg, T. M. B. Heggeset et al., “Thraustochytrids as production organisms for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), squalene, and carotenoids,” Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, vol. 100, no. 10, pp. 4309–4321, 2016. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  18. Y. Tian, A. Katsuki, D. Romanazzi et al., “Docosapentaenoic acid (22:5n-3) downregulates mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory factors in LPS-activated murine macrophage like RAW264.7 cells,” Journal of Oleo Science, vol. 66, no. 10, pp. 1149–1156, 2017. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  19. T. Mosmann, “Rapid colorimetric assay for cellular growth and survival: application to proliferation and cytotoxicity assays,” Journal of Immunological Methods, vol. 65, no. 1-2, pp. 55–63, 1983. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  20. J. N. Sharma, A. Al-Omran, and S. S. Parvathy, “Role of nitric oxide in inflammatory diseases,” Inflammopharmacology, vol. 15, no. 6, pp. 252–259, 2007. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  21. D. Y. Oh, S. Talukdar, E. J. Bae et al., “GPR120 is an omega-3 fatty acid receptor mediating potent anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing effects,” Cell, vol. 142, no. 5, pp. 687–698, 2010. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  22. Y. Liu, L.-Y. Chen, M. Sokolowska et al., “The fish oil ingredient, docosahexaenoic acid, activates cytosolic phospholipase A2 via GPR120 receptor to produce prostaglandin E2 and plays an anti-inflammatory role in macrophages,” Immunology, vol. 143, no. 1, pp. 81–95, 2014. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  23. S. Huang, J. M. Rutkowsky, R. G. Snodgrass et al., “Saturated fatty acids activate TLR-mediated proinflammatory signaling pathways,” Journal of Lipid Research, vol. 53, no. 9, pp. 2002–2013, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  24. K. Kaya, A. Nakazawa, H. Matsuura, D. Honda, I. Inouye, and M. M. Watanabe, “Thraustochytrid Aurantiochytrium sp. 18w-13a accummulates high amounts of squalene,” Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, vol. 75, no. 11, pp. 2246–2248, 2011. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  25. H. Matsuura, A. Nakazawa, M. Ueda, D. Honda, M. M. Watanabe, and K. Kaya, “On the bio-rearrangement into fully saturated fatty acids-containing triglyceride in Aurantiochytrium sp,” Procedia Environmental Sciences, vol. 15, pp. 66–72, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  26. J. W. Pierce, R. Schoenleber, G. Jesmok et al., “Novel inhibitors of cytokine-induced iκBα phosphorylation and endothelial cell adhesion molecule expression show anti-inflammatory effects in vivo,” The Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 272, no. 34, pp. 21096–21103, 1997. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar

Copyright © 2019 Shinya Takahashi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


More related articles

778 Views | 377 Downloads | 1 Citation
 PDF  Download Citation  Citation
 Download other formatsMore
 Order printed copiesOrder

Related articles

We are committed to sharing findings related to COVID-19 as quickly and safely as possible. Any author submitting a COVID-19 paper should notify us at help@hindawi.com to ensure their research is fast-tracked and made available on a preprint server as soon as possible. We will be providing unlimited waivers of publication charges for accepted articles related to COVID-19. Sign up here as a reviewer to help fast-track new submissions.