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Microcoleus autumnalis Cyclopeptides Present Protective Properties against Oxidative Stress  †

Departamento de Farmacología, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, 27002 Lugo, Spain
Marine Biodiscovery, School of Chemistry and Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway), University Road, H91 TK33 Galway, Ireland
Environmental Protection Agency, John Moore Road, F23 KT91 Castlebar, Ireland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Presented at the 7th Iberian Congress on Cyanotoxins/3rd Iberoamerican Congress on Cyanotoxins, Ponta Delgada, Portugal, 18–20 July 2022.
Presenting author (poster).
Biol. Life Sci. Forum 2022, 14(1), 17;
Published: 19 July 2022


Oxidative stress is a common pathological mechanism in neurodegenerative diseases. Aging leads to mitochondrial dysfunction and produces a reduction in endogenous antioxidant systems efficiency, with a consequent increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) release. This unbalance among protecting and damaging molecules impairs neuronal function, even causing cell death. Therefore, the search for new drugs with antioxidant and neuroprotective effects is a great challenge. In this work, the bioactivity of three new cyclopeptides (1–3), isolated from the freshwater cyanobacterium Microcoleus autumnalis, was tested in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells. This species is a prolific source of bioactive metabolites, anatoxin being the best-characterized molecule due to its neurotoxicity. In this context, cytotoxicity of compounds was firstly analyzed. None of the M. autumnalis metabolites induced toxic effects up to 50 µM after 24 h of incubation. In view of the lack of neurotoxicity produced by compounds 1–3, their antioxidant and neuroprotective ability was analyzed. With this objective, SH-SY5Y cells were co-treated with compounds (0.001, 0.01, 0.1, and 1 µM) and 150 µM H2O2 for 6 h. The effect of compounds 1–3 on cell viability under oxidative stress conditions was determined, finding that the three compounds were able to protect neuronal cells from oxidative damage. Next, mitochondrial function was evaluated by monitoring mitochondrial membrane potential. In this assay, only compound 3 recovered the organelles from the depolarization generated by H2O2. Finally, intracellular ROS content was assessed, observing that 1–3 decreased the levels of these harmful molecules. In conclusion, M. autumnalis cyclopeptides presented neuroprotective effects mainly mediated by their ability to reduce ROS levels. These results suggest that compounds 1–3 act as direct antioxidants and could be interesting compounds for further studies in neurodegenerative diseases.

Author Contributions

Investigation, R.A., S.O., J.G.-J., N.P.-F., S.G. and B.K.; writing—original draft preparation, R.A.; supervision, A.A., O.T. and L.M.B.; funding acquisition, A.A., L.M.B. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


The research leading to these results has received funding from the following FEDER cofunded-grants. From Consellería de Cultura, Educación e Ordenación Universitaria, Xunta de Galicia, GRC (ED431C 2021/01). From Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación IISCIII/PI19/001248, PID 2020-11262RB-C21. From European Union Interreg Agritox EAPA-998-2018, and H2020 778069-EMERTOX. N.P.-F. is supported by a fellowship from FIDIS, Spain. R.A. is supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from Xunta de Galicia (ED481B-2021-038), Spain.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

Datasets used in this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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MDPI and ACS Style

Alvariño, R.; Alfonso, A.; O’Brien, S.; González-Jartín, J.; Pérez-Fuentes, N.; Gegunde, S.; Kennedy, B.; Thomas, O.; Botana, L.M. Microcoleus autumnalis Cyclopeptides Present Protective Properties against Oxidative Stress . Biol. Life Sci. Forum 2022, 14, 17.

AMA Style

Alvariño R, Alfonso A, O’Brien S, González-Jartín J, Pérez-Fuentes N, Gegunde S, Kennedy B, Thomas O, Botana LM. Microcoleus autumnalis Cyclopeptides Present Protective Properties against Oxidative Stress . Biology and Life Sciences Forum. 2022; 14(1):17.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Alvariño, Rebeca, Amparo Alfonso, Shauna O’Brien, Jesús González-Jartín, Nadia Pérez-Fuentes, Sandra Gegunde, Brian Kennedy, Olivier Thomas, and Luis M. Botana. 2022. "Microcoleus autumnalis Cyclopeptides Present Protective Properties against Oxidative Stress " Biology and Life Sciences Forum 14, no. 1: 17.

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