Clinical Potential of Phycocyanobilin for Induction of T Regulatory Cells in the Management of Inflammatory Disorders

Recent studies indicate that the natural metabolite bilirubin, in addition to its profound antioxidant effect, also plays a key role in the induction of “T regulatory cells” – immune cells which play a key role in preventing or controlling autoimmunity and inflammation. There is now reason to suspect that the phycocyanobilin (PhyCB) richly supplied by spirulina, a close structural relative of bilirubin, likewise has the potential to promote induction of T regulatory cells. This could help explain the remarkable anti-inflammatory activity associated with orally administered spirulina (or spirulina extracts) in a number of rodent models of autoimmunity. Since PhyCB is also a potent antioxidant, it hence may provide a “one-two punch” against inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.

Published in Medical Hypotheses 2011;77(6):1031-3.

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