Anti-proliferation of Melanoma Cells and Immune Stimulation by the Cyanobacterial Indole-alkaloid Scytonemin


  • Jadon Evans Purdue University Fort Wayne
  • Aaron Jones Purdue University Fort Wayne
  • Elliott Blumenthal Purdue University Fort Wayne
  • Tanya Soule



scytonemin, melanoma, spleen cells, anti-proliferative


Under the stress of ultraviolet radiation some cyanobacteria synthesize scytonemin, a protective pigment against DNA photodamage. In addition to photoprotection, scytonemin has been shown to have an anti-proliferative effect on various types of malignant cells. In this study the effect of scytonemin on melanoma and spleen cells was assessed both in vitro using tissue cultures and in vivo in mice models. Melanoma and spleen cells were exposed to 0.08 to 10 μM of scytonemin, and cell proliferation was measured using tritiated thymidine uptake. The data suggest that scytonemin acts as an inhibitor for melanoma cells in a concentration-dependent manner while enhancing the proliferation of spleen cells, suggesting that it can potentially augment the immune response. Furthermore, mice injected with melanoma cells and scytonemin produced fewer tumors than mice that did not receive scytonemin, although the data were not significant. This study adds to the growing body of research that scytonemin may be beneficial as a future anticancer agent to prevent tumor cell growth.


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How to Cite

Evans, J., Jones, A., Blumenthal, E., & Soule, T. (2021). Anti-proliferation of Melanoma Cells and Immune Stimulation by the Cyanobacterial Indole-alkaloid Scytonemin. Fine Focus, 7(1), 54–63.