Mar. Drugs2016, 14(2), 35; doi:10.3390/md14020035 - published 5 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring red carotenoid pigment classified as a xanthophyll, found in microalgae and seafood such as salmon, trout, and shrimp. This review focuses on astaxanthin as a bioactive compound and outlines the evidence associated with its potential role in the prevention of atherosclerosis. Astaxanthin has a unique molecular structure that is responsible for its powerful antioxidant activities by quenching singlet oxygen and scavenging free radicals. Astaxanthin has been reported to inhibit low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation and to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol and adiponectin levels in clinical studies. Accumulating evidence suggests that astaxanthin could exert preventive actions against atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) via its potential to improve oxidative stress, inflammation, lipid metabolism, and glucose metabolism. In addition to identifying mechanisms of astaxanthin bioactivity by basic research, much more epidemiological and clinical evidence linking reduced CVD risk with dietary astaxanthin intake is needed.
Mar. Drugs2016, 14(2), 34; doi:10.3390/md14020034 - published 5 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Oceans are a vast source of natural substances. In them, we find various compounds with wide biotechnological and biomedical applicabilities. The exploitation of the sea as a renewable source of biocompounds can have a positive impact on the development of new systems and devices for biomedical applications. Marine polysaccharides are among the most abundant materials in the seas, which contributes to a decrease of the extraction costs, besides their solubility behavior in aqueous solvents and extraction media, and their interaction with other biocompounds. Polysaccharides such as alginate, carrageenan and fucoidan can be extracted from algae, whereas chitosan and hyaluronan can be obtained from animal sources. Most marine polysaccharides have important biological properties such as biocompatibility, biodegradability, and anti-inflammatory activity, as well as adhesive and antimicrobial actions. Moreover, they can be modified in order to allow processing them into various shapes and sizes and may exhibit response dependence to external stimuli, such as pH and temperature. Due to these properties, these biomaterials have been studied as raw material for the construction of carrier devices for drugs, including particles, capsules and hydrogels. The devices are designed to achieve a controlled release of therapeutic agents in an attempt to fight against serious diseases, and to be used in advanced therapies, such as gene delivery or regenerative medicine.
Mar. Drugs2016, 14(2), 28; doi:10.3390/md14020028 - published 4 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The sponge Stylissa carteri is known to produce a number of secondary metabolites displaying anti-fouling, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer activity. However, the anti-viral potential of metabolites produced by S. carteri has not been extensively explored. In this study, an S. carteri extract was HPLC fractionated and a cell based assay was used to evaluate the effects of HPLC fractions on parameters of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-1) infection and cell viability. Candidate HIV-1 inhibitory fractions were then analyzed for the presence of potential HIV-1 inhibitory compounds by mass spectrometry, leading to the identification of three previously characterized compounds, i.e., debromohymenialdisine (DBH), hymenialdisine (HD), and oroidin. Commercially available purified versions of these molecules were re-tested to assess their antiviral potential in greater detail. Specifically, DBH and HD exhibit a 30%–40% inhibition of HIV-1 at 3.1 μM and 13 μM, respectively; however, both exhibited cytotoxicity. Conversely, oroidin displayed a 50% inhibition of viral replication at 50 μM with no associated toxicity. Additional experimentation using a biochemical assay revealed that oroidin inhibited the activity of the HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase up to 90% at 25 μM. Taken together, the chemical search space was narrowed and previously isolated compounds with an unexplored anti-viral potential were found. Our results support exploration of marine natural products for anti-viral drug discovery.
Mar. Drugs2016, 14(2), 33; doi:10.3390/md14020033 - published 4 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Palytoxin (PLTX), one the most potent marine toxins, and/or its analogs, have been identified in different marine organisms, such as Palythoa soft corals, Ostreopsis dinoflagellates, and Trichodesmium cyanobacteria. Although the main concern for human health is PLTXs entrance in the human food chain, there is growing evidence of adverse effects associated with inhalational, cutaneous, and/or ocular exposure to aquarium soft corals contaminated by PLTXs or aquaria waters. Indeed, the number of case reports describing human poisonings after handling these cnidarians is continuously increasing. In general, the signs and symptoms involve mainly the respiratory (rhinorrhea and coughing), skeletomuscular (myalgia, weakness, spasms), cardiovascular (electrocardiogram alterations), gastrointestinal (nausea), and nervous (paresthesia, ataxia, tremors) systems or apparates. The widespread phenomenon, the entity of the signs and symptoms of poisoning and the lack of control in the trade of corals as aquaria decorative elements led to consider these poisonings an emerging sanitary problem. This review summarizes literature data on human poisonings due to, or ascribed to, PLTX-containing soft corals, focusing on the different PLTX congeners identified in these organisms and their toxic potential.
Mar. Drugs2016, 14(2), 32; doi:10.3390/md14020032 - published 4 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We examined the inhibitory activity of angiotensin I converting enzyme (ACE) in protein hydrolysates from dulse, Palmaria palmata. The proteins extracted from dulse were mainly composed of phycoerythrin (PE) followed by phycocyanin (PC) and allophycocyanin (APC). The dulse proteins showed slight ACE inhibitory activity, whereas the inhibitory activity was extremely enhanced by thermolysin hydrolysis. The ACE inhibitory activity of hydrolysates was hardly affected by additional pepsin, trypsin and chymotrypsin treatments. Nine ACE inhibitory peptides (YRD, AGGEY, VYRT, VDHY, IKGHY, LKNPG, LDY, LRY, FEQDWAS) were isolated from the hydrolysates by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and it was demonstrated that the synthetic peptide LRY (IC50: 0.044 μmol) has remarkably high ACE inhibitory activity. Then, we investigated the structural properties of dulse phycobiliproteins to discuss the origin of dulse ACE inhibitory peptides. Each dulse phycobiliprotein possesses α-subunit (Mw: 17,477–17,638) and β-subunit (Mw: 17,455–18,407). The sequences of YRD, AGGEY, VYRT, VDHY, LKNPG and LDY were detected in the primary structure of PE α-subunit, and the LDY also exists in the APC α- and β-subunits. In addition, the LRY sequence was found in the β-subunits of PE, PC and APC. From these results, it was suggested that the dulse ACE inhibitory peptides were derived from phycobiliproteins, especially PE. To make sure the deduction, we carried out additional experiment by using recombinant PE. We expressed the recombinant α- and β-subunits of PE (rPEα and rPEβ, respectively), and then prepared their peptides by thermolysin hydrolysis. As a result, these peptides showed high ACE inhibitory activities (rPEα: 94.4%; rPEβ: 87.0%). Therefore, we concluded that the original proteins of dulse ACE inhibitory peptides were phycobiliproteins.
Mar. Drugs2016, 14(2), 31; doi:10.3390/md14020031 - published 3 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Fucoidan is a heterogeneous group of sulfated polysaccharide with a high content of l-fucose, which can be extracted from brown algae and marine invertebrates. It has many beneficial biological activities that make fucoidan an interesting candidate for therapeutic application in a variety of diseases. Age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy are major causes for vision loss and blindness in the industrialized countries and increasingly in the developing world. Some of the characteristics found in certain fucoidans, such as its anti-oxidant activity, complement inhibition or interaction with the Vascular Endothelial Growth factor, which would be of high interest for a potential application of fucoidan in age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. However, the possible usage of fucoidan in ophthalmological diseases has received little attention so far. In this review, biological activities of fucoidan that could be of interest regarding these diseases will be discussed.