Fucoidan is a sulfated polysaccharide (MW: average 20,000) found mainly in various species of brown algae and brown seaweed such as mozuku, kombu, limu moui, bladderwrack,wakame, and hijiki (variant forms of fucoidan have also been found in animal species, including the sea cucumber). Fucoidan is used as an ingredient in some dietary supplementproducts.
The physiological and biochemical effects of fucoidan have been examined in several small-scale in vitro and animal studies. F-fucoidan was reported to inhibit hyperplasia in rabbits rel=”nofollow” and induce apoptosis in isolated human lymphoma cell lines in vitro. It has been hypothesized that these two effects may involve a common mechanism, but the evidence is inconsistent and no mechanism for the putative induction of apoptosis by fucoidan has been identified. A study in rats indicated that pre-treatment with fucoidan increases mortality subsequent to meningitis infection. In a clinical study, orally-ingested Undaria-derived-fucoidan was reported to produce a small increase in the total number of CD34+ cells, and a more pronounced increase in the proportion of CD34+ cells that expressed CXCR4. The authors of the study hypothesized that the ability of fucoidan to mobilize hematopoetic cells with high levels of CXCR4 expression could be clinically valuable.
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