Phycocyanin is a pigment-protein complex from the light-harvesting phycobiliprotein family, along with allophycocyanin and phycoerythrin. It is an accessory pigment to chlorophyll. All phycobiliproteins are water-soluble, so they cannot exist within the membrane-like carotenoids can.What is Phycocyanin?
Phycocyanin isolated from marine organisms has the characteristics of high efficiency and low toxicity, and it can be used as a functional food. It has been reported that phycocyanin has anti-oxidative function, anti-inflammatory activity, anti-cancer function, immune enhancement function, liver, and kidney protection pharmacological effects. Thus, phycocyanin has an important development and utilization as a potential drug, and phycocyanin has become a new hot spot in the field of drug research. So far, there are more and more studies have shown that phycocyanin has an anti-cancer effect, which can block the proliferation of cancer cells and kill cancer cells. Phycocyanin exerts anti-cancer activity by blocking the tumor cell cycle, inducing tumor cell apoptosis and autophagy, thereby phycocyanin can serve as a promising anti-cancer agent. This review discusses the therapeutic use of phycocyanin and focuses on the latest advances of phycocyanin as a promising anti-cancer drug.
(source: National Health Institute)
Clinical uses of phycocyanin
Phycocyanin can have a potent potential as a drug in a wide range of clinical applications. Phycocyanin shows a wide range of pharmacological effects, with anti-oxidation 53, anti-cancer 54, anti-inflammatory activity 55, photo-induced cytotoxicity 56 and stimulating the immune system 57.
Phycocyanin plays an antioxidant role in inhibiting hepatic lipid peroxidation and being helpful to liver protection 58, 59. Phycocyanin also scavenges free radicals from damaged nerve cells, which could avoid DNA oxidative damage cause from free radicals and prevent neuronal cell apoptosis 60, 61. There are more and more researches have shown that phycocyanin plays an effective anti-cancer role in various cancer cell types (such as breast cancer 57, 62, liver cancer 63, lung cancer64, 65, colon cancer 66, Leukemia 67 and bone marrow cancer 68 and so on) in vitro and in vivo. Morcos first discovered the laser-induced cytotoxicity of phycocyanin, which could kill tumor cells, while the damage to normal tissue is minimal 69. When in combination with He-Ne light, C-phycocyanin can serve as a photosensitize agent in the photodynamic therapy, which could provide a possible tumor therapy 57. C-phycocyanin shows specific affinity to the scavenger receptor-A (SR-A) of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), which is highly expressed on TAM. Thus, C-phycocyanin can act as a new class of TAM-targeted photosensitiser, which exhibits an efficient in vitro photodynamic activity, and selectively accumulates in tumour sites probably due to the affinity to TAM, which provides a novel strategy to enhance the efficacy for cancer therapy 70. Moreover, C-phycocyanin displays an anti-inflammatory potential, so C-phycocyanin is a potential natural anti-inflammatory agent 71, 72. Phycocyanin can promote animal blood cell regeneration, improve lymphocyte activity and lymphatic system to improve immune function, and comprehensively enhance the disease resistance of the body 73. In addition, C-phycocyanin could inhibit TGF-β1-induced EMT and C-PC might be a potential anti-fibrosis drug 74.