A comparative study on the effect of algal and fish oil on viability and cell proliferation of Caco-2 cells

V.A. van Beelen, J. Roeleveld, H. Mooibroek, L. Sijtsma, R.J. Bino, H.J. Bosch, I.M.C.M. Rietjens, G.M. Alink

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) rich micro-algal oil was tested in vitro and compared with fish oil for antiproliferative properties on cancer cells in vitro. Oils derived from Crypthecodinium cohnii, Schizochytrium sp. and Nitzschia laevis, three commercial algal oil capsules, and menhaden fish oil were used in cell viability and proliferation tests with human colon adenocarcinoma Caco-2 cells. With these tests no difference was found between algal oil and fish oil. The nonhydrolysed algal oils and fish oil showed a much lower toxic effect on cell viability, and cell proliferation in Caco-2 cells than the hydrolysed oils and the free fatty acids (FFAs). Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; C20:5n ¿ 3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; C22:6n ¿ 3) were used as samples for comparison with the tested hydrolysed and nonhydrolysed oils. The hydrolysed samples showed comparative toxicity as the free fatty acids and no difference between algal and fish oil. Oxidative stress was shown to play a role in the antiproliferative properties of EPA and DHA, as ¿-tocopherol could partially reverse the EPA/DHA-induced effects. The results of the present study support a similar mode of action of algal oil and fish oil on cancer cells in vitro, in spite of their different PUFA content
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-724
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • marine fatty-acids
  • eicosapentaenoic acid
  • docosahexaenoic acid
  • lipid-peroxidation
  • cancer prevention
  • health-benefits
  • rapid method
  • rat colon
  • n-3
  • apoptosis

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