Fucoxanthin diminishes oxidative stress damage in human placenta-derived mesenchymal stem cells through the PI3K/Akt/Nrf-2 pathway

Gunticha Suwanmanee, Chairat Tantrawatpan, Pakpoom Kheolamai, LUMINITA PARAOAN, Sirikul Manochantr

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Placenta-derived mesenchymal stem cells (PL-MSCs) have therapeutic potential in various clinical contexts due to their regenerative and immunomodulatory properties. However, with increasing age or extensive in vitro culture, their viability and function are gradually lost, thus restricting their therapeutic application. The primary cause of this deterioration is oxidative injury from free radicals. Therefore, enhancing cell viability and restoring cellular repair mechanisms of PL-MSCs in an oxidative stress environment are crucial in this context. Fucoxanthin, a carotenoid derived from brown seaweed, demonstrates antioxidant activity by increasing the production of antioxidant enzymes and lowering the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This study aimed to determine whether fucoxanthin protects PL-MSCs from hydrogen peroxide (H 2O 2)-induced oxidative stress. After characterization, PL-MSCs were co-treated with fucoxanthin and H 2O 2 for 24 h (co-treatment) or pre-treated with fucoxanthin for 24 h followed by H 2O 2 for 24 h (pre-treatment). The effects of fucoxanthin on cell viability and proliferation were examined using an MTT assay. The expression of antioxidant enzymes, PI3K/Akt/Nrf-2 and intracellular ROS production were investigated in fucoxanthin-treated PL-MSCs compared to the untreated group. The gene expression and involvement of specific pathways in the cytoprotective effect of fucoxanthin were investigated by high-throughput NanoString nCounter analysis. The results demonstrated that co-treatment and pre-treatment with fucoxanthin restored the viability and proliferative capacity of PL-MSCs. Fucoxanthin treatment increased the expression of antioxidant enzymes in PL-MSCs cultured under oxidative stress conditions and decreased intracellular ROS accumulation. Markedly, fucoxanthin treatment could restore PI3K/Akt/Nrf-2 expression in H 2O 2-treated PL-MSCs. High-throughput analysis revealed up-regulation of genes involved in cell survival pathways, including cell cycle and proliferation, DNA damage repair pathways, and down-regulation of genes in apoptosis and autophagy pathways. This study demonstrated that fucoxanthin protects and rescues PL-MSCs from oxidative stress damage through the PI3K/Akt/Nrf-2 pathway. Our data provide the supporting evidence for the use of fucoxanthin as an antioxidant cytoprotective agent to improve the viability and proliferation capacity of PL-MSCs both in vitro and in vivo required to increase the effectiveness of MSC expansion for therapeutic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22974
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2023


  • Humans
  • Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism
  • Antioxidants/pharmacology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt/metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases/metabolism
  • Hydrogen Peroxide/toxicity
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Apoptosis
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells
  • Reactive Oxygen Species - metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases - metabolism
  • Antioxidants - pharmacology - metabolism
  • Hydrogen Peroxide - toxicity - metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt - metabolism


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