Fucoidans are a class of fucose-rich sulfated polysaccharides derived from brown macroalgae that exert a range of biological activities in vitro and in vivo. To generate an unbiased assessment of pathways and processes affected by fucoidan, a placebo-controlled double-blind pilot study was performed in healthy volunteers. Blood samples were taken immediately before and 24 h after ingestion of a single dose of 1 g of Undaria pinnatifida
fucoidan (UPF) or placebo. Levels of isolated miRNAs were analyzed using Taqman Open Array Human MicroRNA panels. Out of 754 miRNAs screened, UPF affected a total of 53 miRNAs. Pathway analysis using the TALOS data analysis tool predicted 29 different pathways and processes that were largely grouped into cell surface receptor signaling, cancer-related pathways, the majority of which were previously associated with fucoidans. However, this analysis also identified nine pathways and processes that have not been associated with fucoidans before. Overall, this study illustrates that even a single dose of fucoidans has the potential to affect the expression of genes related to fundamental cellular processes. Moreover, it confirms previous data that fucoidans influence immunity, cancer cells, inflammation, and neurological function.
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