Brief Article
Copyright ©2012 Baishideng Publishing Group Co., Limited. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. May 14, 2012; 18(18): 2225-2230
Published online May 14, 2012. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i18.2225
Beneficial effects of fucoidan in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection
Naoki Mori, Kazunori Nakasone, Koh Tomimori, Chie Ishikawa
Naoki Mori, Koh Tomimori, Chie Ishikawa, Department of Microbiology and Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Okinawa 903-0215, Japan
Kazunori Nakasone, Nakasonekazu Medical Clinic, Naha, Okinawa 902-0062, Japan
Koh Tomimori, Department of Psychiatry, Naha City Hospital, Naha, Okinawa 902-8511, Japan
Chie Ishikawa, Transdisciplinary Research Organization for Subtropics and Island Studies, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan
Author contributions: Mori N co-designed the study and wrote the manuscript; Nakasone K co-designed the study and performed the clinical trial; Tomimori K performed the inhibition assay of replication; Ishikawa C co-designed the study.
Correspondence to: Naoki Mori, MD, PhD, Department of Microbiology and Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus, 207 Uehara, Nishihara, Okinawa 903-0215, Japan.
Telephone: +81-98-8951130 Fax: +81-98-8951410
Received: July 8, 2011
Revised: December 7, 2011
Accepted: March 10, 2012
Published online: May 14, 2012

AIM: To evaluate the effects of fucoidan, a complex sulfated polysaccharide extract from marine seaweed, on hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA load both in vitro and in vivo.

METHODS: HCV-1b replicon-expressing cells were cultured in the presence of fucoidan obtained from Cladosiphon okamuranus Tokida cultivated in Okinawa, Japan, and quantified the level of HCV replication. In an open-label uncontrolled study, 15 patients with chronic hepatitis C, and HCV-related cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma were treated with fucoidan (0.83 g/d) for 12 mo. The clinical symptoms, biochemical tests, and HCV RNA levels were assessed before, during, and after treatment.

RESULTS: Fucoidan dose-dependently inhibited the expression of HCV replicon. At 8-10 mo of treatment with fucoidan, HCV RNA levels were significantly lower relative to the baseline. The same treatment also tended to lower serum alanine aminotransferase levels, and the latter correlated with HCV RNA levels. However, the improved laboratory tests did not translate into significant clinical improvement. Fucoidan had no serious adverse effects.

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that fucoidan is safe and useful in the treatment of patients with HCV-related chronic liver diseases. Further controlled clinical trials are needed to confirm the present findings.

Keywords: Fucoidan, Hepatitis C virus, Replicon