Fucoidan inhibits radiation-induced pneumonitis and lung fibrosis by reducing inflammatory cytokine expression in lung tissues

Hsin Hsien Yu, Edward K.O. Chengchuan, Chia Lun Chang, Kevin Sheng Po Yuan, Alexander T.H. Wu, Yan Shen Shan, Szu Yuan Wu

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Purpose: Radiotherapy is a crucial treatment approach for many types of cancer. Radiation pneumonitis (RP) is one of the major complications in chest irradiation. Fucoidan is a sulfated polysaccharide found mainly in various species of brown seaweed. Recent studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of fucoidan. However, no study has reported a well-established prophylactic agent for RP. Therefore, we investigated the effects of fucoidan on RP and radiotherapy (RT)-induced lung fibrosis. Materials and Methods: We compared RP and RT-induced fibrosis in lung tissue specimens obtained from irradiated (10 Gy/shot) C57BL/6 mice with or without fucoidan administration (200 mg/kg/day, oral gavage for 14 days). The expression patterns of cytokines in the pleural fluid were determined using a cytokine array and confirmed through enzyme immunoassays. Results: Fucoidan administration attenuated RP and RT-induced fibrosis in lung tissues. Decreased neutrophil and macrophage accumulation was observed in irradiated lung tissues, and radiation-induced lung fibrosis, as demonstrated by Masson trichrome staining, was attenuated. We investigated the expression patterns of inflammatory cytokines in the irradiated lung pleural fluid through the protein array; results revealed that fucoidan administration changed the expression patterns of inflammatory cytokines in irradiated lung tissues. Furthermore, the expression levels of TIMP-1, CXCL1, MCP-1, MIP-2, and interleukin-1Ra were substantially enhanced in the pleural fluid, but fucoidan administration significantly reduced their expression. Conclusions: Fucoidan changes the expression patterns of inflammatory cytokines, which may consequently attenuate RP and RT-induced lung fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbermd16100392
Number of pages14
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 19 2018



  • Cytokine
  • Fucoidan
  • Lung fibrosis
  • Macrophage
  • Neutrophil
  • Radiation pneumonitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery

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