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Leukemia Research and Treatment
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 373519, 7 pages
Research Article

Cytotoxicity of Algae Extracts on Normal and Malignant Cells

1Department of Medicine and the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA
2Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA

Received 13 August 2010; Revised 14 October 2010; Accepted 25 October 2010

Academic Editor: Hans G. Drexler

Copyright © 2011 Jeremy Bechelli 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.


Algae preparations are commonly used in alternative medicine. We examined the effects of algae extracts on normal hematopoietic cells and leukemia cells. Ethanol extracts were prepared of Dunaliella salina (Dun), Astaxanthin (Ast), Spirulina platensis (Spir), and Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA). Cell viability effects were completed by Annexin staining. Ast and AFA inhibited HL-60 and MV-4-11 whereas Dun and Spir had no effect. Primary AML blasts demonstrated increased apoptosis in AFA. Primary CLL cells showed apoptosis at 24 hours after exposure to Dun, Ast, Spir, and AFA. High AFA concentrations decreased viability of normal marrow cells. Normal C D 3 4 + viability was inhibited by Dun. Dun and AFA inhibited BFU-E, but all extracts inhibited CFU-GM. Cell-cycle analysis of AML cell lines showed G0/G1 arrest in the presence of AFA. These data suggest that algae extracts may inhibit AML cell lines and leukemia blasts, but they may also have potential inhibitory effects on normal hematopoiesis.