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The potent anti-inflammatory properties of sea cucumbers


Sea cucumbers (specifically Isostichopus badionotus) are used in East Asia as a medicinal ingredient, but their bioactivity is known to vary depending on the species and their environment. In a study published in the journal PharmaNutrition, researchers investigated the anti-inflammatory activity of sea cucumbers harvested from the Yucatan coast.

  • After harvest, the animals’ body walls were separated from the rest of their parts. These were then freeze-dried and ground into powder, from which extracts were prepared.
  • The researchers used a hen’s egg test-chorioallantoic membrane (HET-CAM) assay, a rat feeding trial, and a mouse ear inflammation model to test the sea cucumber extracts’ anti-inflammatory properties. Histology and qRT-PCR were used for further analysis.
  • The extracts exhibited strong anti-inflammatory activity in all assays, reducing tissue damage caused by inflammatory agents and suppressing the expression of pro-inflammatory genes, including TNF-alpha, iNOS, COX2, NF-kappa-B, and IL-6.
  • The extracts also slightly enhanced the action of anti-inflammatory genes.

The researchers concluded that the extracts from sea cucumbers harvested from the Yucatan Peninsula have potent anti-inflammatory activity.

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Journal Reference:

Olivera-Castillo L, Grant G, Kantún-Moreno N, Acevedo-Fernández JJ, Puc-Sosa M, Montero J, Olvera-Novoa MA, Negrete-León E, Santa-Olalla J, Ceballos-Zapata J, et al. SEA CUCUMBER (ISOSTICHOPUS BADIONOTUS) BODY-WALL PREPARATIONS EXERT ANTI-INFLAMMATORY ACTIVITY IN VIVO. PharmaNutrition. 2 June 2018;6(2):74–80. DOI: 10.1016/j.phanu.2018.03.002



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