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Floridoside extracted from the red alga Mastocarpus stellatus is a potent activator of the classical complement pathway



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Carragheen moss - Mastocarpus stellatus, also called Clúimhín Cait (cats' puff), carragheen, or false Irish moss, is a species of red algae closely related to Irish Moss, or Chondrus crispus. It is collected in Ireland and Scotland, together with Chondrus crispus as Irish moss, dried, and sold for cooking and as the basis for a drink reputed to ward off colds and flu. The fronds are channelled unlike those of Chondrus crispus, and it has a curved stipe whereas Chondrus has a flat one. It occurs commonly on rocks in the mid- and lower-intertidal.

Mastocarpus stellatus is able to coexist with C. crispus on the northern New England coast despite being a competitive inferior to C. crispus. A greater tolerance for freezing allows it to exist above C. crispus in northern environments where freezing stresses are significant. Mastocarpus is rarely found south of Cape Cod on the United States Atlantic coast because it is out competed by Chondrus when the freezing tolerances are lower.

In simplistic terms the paper below is saying seaweed boosts your immune system naturally.

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Mar Drugs. 2008;6(3):407-17. doi: 10.3390/md20080019. Epub 2008 Jul 10.  Floridoside extracted from the red alga Mastocarpus stellatus is a potent activator of the classical complement pathway.  Courtois A1, Simon-Colin C, Boisset C, Berthou C, Deslandes E, Guézennec J, Bordron A.

Many biological properties of algae have been found to have useful applications in human health, particularly in the fields of oncology and immunology. Floridoside, extracted from the red alga Mastocarpus stellatus, has a structure similar to the xenoantigen Gal alpha 1-3 Gal. This xenoantigen has been described to induce a high immune response in human xenografts and is mediated by natural anti-gal antibodies that activate the classical complement pathway. Based on this property, we analyzed the potential activities of floridoside on the immune system. We demonstrated that floridoside activates a complement cascade via the classical complement pathway, through the recruitment and activation of natural IgM.

KEYWORDS:  Alpha-galactosyl glycerol; complement system; immunomodulation; marine algae

PMID: 19005576

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