Impact of Enzymatically Extracted High Molecular Weight Fucoidan on Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Endothelial Activation and Leukocyte Adhesion

The endothelial cell lining creates an interface between circulating blood and adjoining tissue and forms one of the most critical barriers and targets for therapeutical intervention. Recent studies suggest that fucoidans, sulfated and fucose-rich polysaccharides from brown seaweed, show multiple promising biological effects, including anti-inflammatory properties. However, their biological activity is determined by chemical characteristics such as molecular weight, sulfation degree, and molecular structure, which vary depending on the source, species, and harvesting and isolation method. In this study, we investigated the impact of high molecular weight (HMW) fucoidan extract on endothelial cell activation and interaction with primary monocytes (MNCs) in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation. Gentle enzyme-assisted extraction combined with fractionation by ion exchange chromatography resulted in well-defined and pure fucoidan fractions. FE_F3, with a molecular weight ranging from 110 to 800 kDa and a sulfate content of 39%, was chosen for further investigation of its anti-inflammatory potential. We observed that along with higher purity of fucoidan fractions, the inflammatory response in endothelial mono- and co-cultures with MNCs was reduced in a dose-dependent manner when testing two different concentrations. This was demonstrated by a decrease in IL-6 and ICAM-1 on gene and protein levels and a reduced gene expression of TLR-4, GSK3β and NF-kB. Expression of selectins and, consequently, the adhesion of monocytes to the endothelial monolayer was reduced after fucoidan treatment. These data indicate that the anti-inflammatory effect of fucoidans increases with their purity and suggest that fucoidans might be useful in limiting the inflammatory response of endothelial cells in cases of LPS-induced bacterial infection.

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