Characterization, cytotoxicity and antioxidant activity of sea urchins (Diadema savignyi) and jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) extracts

Eman A. Khalil, The American University in Cairo (AUC)
Hamdy Swelim
Hala El-Tantawi
Alaa F. Bakr, The American University in Cairo (AUC)


The Red Sea is a rich ecosystem with thousands of species containing a variety of bioactive compounds that have potential pharmacological applications. This study will highlight the potential importance of sea urchins and jellyfish extracts. The gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS) revealed many phenolic compounds in the extracts of the sea urchin (Diadema savignyi) and jellyfish (Aurelia aurita). The extracts were also tested for their potential radical scavenging activity as well as their safety and toxicity in vitro and in vivo. Both extracts showed significant total antioxidant capacity (P-value < 0.0001), and free radical scavenging activity (DPPH) compared to ascorbic acid and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA, P-value < 0.0001). They were found to be safe in vitro and enhanced cell proliferation of fibroblast cells (L929) (P-value < 0.0001), and neuronal cell lines (neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y) (P-value < 0.0001). Intraperitoneal administration of both extracts did not show any significant morbidity within tested concentrations. Liver enzymes (ALT and AST) and renal functions showed no significant changes compared to control. No significant histological changes in the liver or kidney tissues were observed. The current study proved the safety of both sea urchins and jellyfish extracts in vitro and in vivo, which paves the way for further studies on the biomedical application of both extracts in areas of neuroprotection and cancer treatment.