Laboratory of Viral Pathogenesis, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
An aqueous extract of the blue-green filamentous algae Arthrospira platensis (previously called Spirulina platensis) inhibited HIV-1 replication in human T-cell lines, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and Langerhans cells (LC). Extract concentrations ranging between 0.3 and 1.2 microg/ml reduced viral production by approximately 50% (50% effective concentration [EC50]) in PBMCs. The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of extract for PBMC growth ranged between 0.8 and 3.1 mg/ml. Depending on the cell type used, therapeutic indices ranged between 200 and 6000. The extract inactivated HIV-1 infectivity directly when preincubated with virus before addition to human T-cell lines. Fractionation of the extract revealed antiviral activity in the polysaccharide fraction and also in a fraction depleted of polysaccharides and tannins. We conclude that aqueous A platensis extracts contain antiretroviral activity that may be of potential clinical interest.