Special Issue "Pre-Clinical Marine Drug Discovery"

A special issue of Marine Drugs (ISSN 1660-3397).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (17 May 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Assoc. Prof. Jun Lu Website E-Mail
School of Science, and School of Interprofessional Health Studies, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
Interests: diabetes; obesity; cancer; non-communicalbe diseases; marine natural compounds; fucoidan; seaweed; clams; food chemistry; pharmacology; drug metabolism; pharmacokinetics; pre-clinical pharmacology; natural compound extraction; polyamine metabolism; marine bioactives
Guest Editor
Assoc. Prof. Yu Zhao E-Mail
College of Life Sciences, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai, China

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Marine products provide ample opportunities for us to find bioactive compounds. To identify and confirm their bioactivities, pre-clinical studies are necessary before they can be developed further, either as health products or ultimately as medicine. There are plenty of pre-clinical tools and models for marine drug discovery. Through pre-clinical screening, many marine compounds have demonstrated important biological properties in the prevention and treatment of various diseases, including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, obesity, diabetes, etc. Pre-clinical screening is a crucial step for discovering new lead compounds from marine products, therefore, this "Pre-Clinical Marine Drugs Discovery” Special Issue aims to gather the most relevant and new research articles in the field. We hope to capture the progress and development in this important field. It is also a chance for scientists who are working on pre-clinical marine drug discovery to showcase their recent findings and attract the attention of marine drug developers.

Assoc. Prof. Jun Lu
Assoc. Prof. Yu Zhao
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Marine Drugs is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • marine products
  • natural compounds
  • pre-clinical screening
  • mechanism of action
  • extraction and analysis
  • bioactive extracts and fractions
  • pre-clinical models
  • pre-clinical pharmacology
  • molecular target

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
In Vitro Studies Reveal Antiurolithic Effect of Antioxidant Sulfated Polysaccharides from the Green Seaweed Caulerpa cupressoides var flabellata
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(6), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17060326 - 01 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Urolithiasis affects approximately 10% of the world population and is strongly associated with calcium oxalate (CaOx) crystals. Currently, there is no efficient compound that can be used to prevent this disease. However, seaweeds’ sulfated polysaccharides (SPs) can change the CaOx crystals surface’s charge [...] Read more.
Urolithiasis affects approximately 10% of the world population and is strongly associated with calcium oxalate (CaOx) crystals. Currently, there is no efficient compound that can be used to prevent this disease. However, seaweeds’ sulfated polysaccharides (SPs) can change the CaOx crystals surface’s charge and thus modify the crystallization dynamics, due to the interaction of the negative charges of these polymers with the crystal surface during their synthesis. We observed that the SPs of Caulerpa cupressoides modified the morphology, size and surface charge of CaOx crystals. Thus, these crystals became similar to those found in healthy persons. In the presence of SPs, dihydrate CaOx crystals showed rounded or dumbbell morphology. Infrared analysis, fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry (FITC-conjugated SPs) and atomic composition analysis (EDS) allowed us to propose the mode of action between the Caulerpa’s SPs and the CaOx crystals. This study is the first step in understanding the interactions between SPs, which are promising molecules for the treatment of urolithiasis, and CaOx crystals, which are the main cause of kidney stones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pre-Clinical Marine Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Biosynthesis and Secretion of Human Tissue Kallikrein in Transgenic Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(12), 493; https://doi.org/10.3390/md16120493 - 07 Dec 2018
Abstract
The green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was recently been shown to be an effective bio-manufacturing platform for the production of recombinant proteins. The advantage of using C. reinhardtii is that it is fast to grow, inexpensive to culture, and relatively safe. However, the expression [...] Read more.
The green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was recently been shown to be an effective bio-manufacturing platform for the production of recombinant proteins. The advantage of using C. reinhardtii is that it is fast to grow, inexpensive to culture, and relatively safe. However, the expression of foreign proteins is always low and difficult to purify in C. reinhardtii. Human kallikrein has the potential to be developed into certain drugs, like insulin. Therefore, its biosynthesis is important to drug development. In this study, we synthesized the sg gene, a signal peptide sequence of alkaline phosphatase, and inserted it into a pH124 plasmid, which contains a HSP70A-RBCS2 promoter and a RBCS2 terminator. Then, we inserted the human kallikrein gene klk1 behind the sg sequence to make a pHsgk124 vector. The pHsgk124 were transferred into a cell-wall deficient strain of C. reinhardtii, cc-503, by using the glass bead method. Southern blot analysis showed that sg and klk1 were incorporated into genes of the transgenic C. reinhardtii. RT-PCR analysis showed that it had an active transcription and its expression increased three times under heat stress. Western blot analyses of proteins inside and outside cells (in the culture medium) showed that klk1 was expressed in the cell and the resulting protein was secreted into medium. An enzyme activity assay showed that the recombinant protein had the ability to hydrolyze the specific substrate H-D-Val-Leu-Arg-Pna. In conclusion, we successfully bioengineered C. reinhardtii to produce and secrete human kallikrein protein, which has important biomedical implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pre-Clinical Marine Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Fucoidan Extracted from the New Zealand Undaria pinnatifida—Physicochemical Comparison against Five Other Fucoidans: Unique Low Molecular Weight Fraction Bioactivity in Breast Cancer Cell Lines
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(12), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/md16120461 - 22 Nov 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Fucoidan, the complex fucose-containing sulphated polysaccharide varies considerably in structure, composition, and bioactivity, depending on the source, species, seasonality, and extraction method. In this study, we examined five fucoidans extracted from the same seaweed species Undaria pinnatifida but from different geological locations, and [...] Read more.
Fucoidan, the complex fucose-containing sulphated polysaccharide varies considerably in structure, composition, and bioactivity, depending on the source, species, seasonality, and extraction method. In this study, we examined five fucoidans extracted from the same seaweed species Undaria pinnatifida but from different geological locations, and compared them to the laboratory-grade fucoidan from Sigma (S). The five products differed in molecular composition. The amount of over 2 kDa low molecular weight fraction (LMWF) of the New Zealand crude fucoidan (S1) was larger than that of S, and this fraction was unique, compared to the other four fucoidans. The difference of molecular compositions between S and S1 explained our previous observation that S1 exhibited different anticancer profile in some cancer cell lines, compared with S. Since we observed this unique LMWF, we compared the cytotoxic effects of a LMWF and a high molecular weight fucoidan (HMWF) in two breast cancer cell lines—MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231. Results indicated that the molecular weight is a critical factor in determining the anti-cancer potential of fucoidan, from the New Zealand U. pinnatifida, as the LMWF exhibited a dose-dependent inhibition on the proliferation of breast cancer cells, significantly better than the HMWF, in both cell lines. A time-dependent inhibition was only observed in the MCF-7. Induction of caspase-dependent apoptosis was observed in the MDA-MB-231 cells, through the intrinsic apoptosis pathway alone, or with the extrinsic pathway. LMWF stimulated a dose-dependent NOS activation in the MDA-MB-231 cells. In conclusion, the fucoidan extracted from the New Zealand U. pinnatifida contains a unique LMWF, which could effectively inhibit the growth of breast cancer cell lines. Therefore, the LMWF from New Zealand U. pinnatifida could be used as a supplement cancer treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pre-Clinical Marine Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of Different Molecular Weight Fucoidan Fractions Derived from New Zealand Undaria pinnatifida in Combination with GroA Therapy in Prostate Cancer Cell Lines
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(11), 454; https://doi.org/10.3390/md16110454 - 18 Nov 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Fucoidan, a sulfated polysaccharide extracted from brown seaweeds, has been shown to possess various antioxidant, anticoagulant, antiviral, and anticancer functions. In this study, we focused on low molecular weight fucoidan (LMWF) which was extracted from New Zealand Undaria pinnatifida, and investigated its [...] Read more.
Fucoidan, a sulfated polysaccharide extracted from brown seaweeds, has been shown to possess various antioxidant, anticoagulant, antiviral, and anticancer functions. In this study, we focused on low molecular weight fucoidan (LMWF) which was extracted from New Zealand Undaria pinnatifida, and investigated its anti-proliferative effects, combined with a quadruplex-forming oligonucleotide aptamer (GroA, AS1411), a powerful cell surface Nucleolin inhibitor, in prostate cancer cells. We examined LMWF (<10 kDa) and compared it with laboratory grade Fucoidan purchased from Sigma (FS), all extracted from the same seaweed species U. pinnatifida. We found that LMWF significantly improved the anti-proliferative effect of GroA, as it decreased cancer cell growth and viability and increased cell death. This research may provide the foundation for LMWF to be used against prostate cancers as a supplement therapy in combination with other therapeutic agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pre-Clinical Marine Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Fucoidan Extracted from Undaria pinnatifida: Source for Nutraceuticals/Functional Foods
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(9), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/md16090321 - 09 Sep 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
The importance of fucoidan as a functional ingredient in food, health products, and pharmaceutics is well-recognized due to its beneficial biological effects. Fucoidan is usually extracted from brown seaweeds, including Undaria pinnatifida. Fucoidan exhibits beneficial bio-activity and has antioxidant, anticancer, and anticoagulant [...] Read more.
The importance of fucoidan as a functional ingredient in food, health products, and pharmaceutics is well-recognized due to its beneficial biological effects. Fucoidan is usually extracted from brown seaweeds, including Undaria pinnatifida. Fucoidan exhibits beneficial bio-activity and has antioxidant, anticancer, and anticoagulant properties. This review focuses on the biological activity of U. pinnatifida-derived fucoidan and investigates its structure–activity or fraction–activity relationship. It also describes several fucoidan extracts, along with their claimed anticancer effects. It aims to provide information and thoughts for future research such as the development of fucoidan into functional foods or nutraceuticals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pre-Clinical Marine Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Protective Effect of Eckol against Acute Hepatic Injury Induced by Carbon Tetrachloride in Mice
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(9), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/md16090300 - 27 Aug 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Several in vitro studies have shown the potential hepatoprotective properties of eckol, a natural phlorotannin derived from the brown alga. However, the in vivo hepatoprotective potential of eckol has not been determined. In this study, we performed an in vivo study to investigate [...] Read more.
Several in vitro studies have shown the potential hepatoprotective properties of eckol, a natural phlorotannin derived from the brown alga. However, the in vivo hepatoprotective potential of eckol has not been determined. In this study, we performed an in vivo study to investigate the protective effect of eckol and its possible mechanisms on the carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced acute liver injury model in mice. Results revealed that eckol pre-treatment at the dose of 0.5 and 1.0 mg/kg/day for 7 days significantly suppressed the CCl4-induced increases of alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels in serum and meliorated morphological liver injury. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labelling (TUNEL) analysis showed that the number of positive apoptotic hepatocytes in the eckol-treated group was lower than that in the CCl4 model group. Western blotting analysis also demonstrated the enhanced expression of bcl-2 and suppressed expression of cleaved caspase-3 by eckol. The CCl4-induced oxidative stress in liver was significantly ameliorated by eckol, which was characterized by reduced malondialdehyde (MDA) formations, and enhanced superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities and glutathione (GSH) content. Moreover, the CCl4-induced elevations of pro-inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6 were markedly suppressed in the eckol-treated group. However, eckol enhanced the level of IL-10, a potent anti-inflammatory cytokine, and recruited CD11c+ dendritic cells into the liver tissues of CCl4-treated mice. These results indicated that eckol has the protective effect on CCl4-induced acute liver injury via multiple mechanisms including anti-apoptosis, anti-oxidation, anti-inflammation and immune regulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pre-Clinical Marine Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Tetrodotoxin Pellets in a Rat Model of Postherpetic Neuralgia
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(6), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/md16060195 - 05 Jun 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is nerve pain caused by a reactivation of the varicella zoster virus. Medications are used to reduce PHN but their use is limited by serious side effects. Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a latent neurotoxin that can block neuropathic pain, but its [...] Read more.
Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is nerve pain caused by a reactivation of the varicella zoster virus. Medications are used to reduce PHN but their use is limited by serious side effects. Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a latent neurotoxin that can block neuropathic pain, but its therapeutic index is only 3–5 times with intravenous or intramuscular injection. Therefore, we prepared oral TTX pellets and examined their effect in a rat model of PHN induced by resiniferatoxin (RTX). Oral TTX pellets were significantly effective at preventing RTX-induced mechanical and thermal allodynia, and similar to pregabalin. Moreover, oral administration of TTX pellets dose-dependently inhibited RTX-induced PHN compared with intramuscular administration of TTX injection. We also studied the pharmacokinetic profile of TTX pellets. Our results showed that the blood concentration of TTX reached a maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) at around 2 h, with an elimination half-life time (t1/2) of 3.23 ± 1.74 h after intragastric administration. The median lethal dose (LD50) of TTX pellets was 517.43 μg/kg via oral administration to rats, while the median effective dose (ED50) was approximately 5.85 μg/kg, and the therapeutic index was 88.45. Altogether, this has indicated that oral TTX pellets greatly enhance safety when compared with TTX injection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pre-Clinical Marine Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Marine Longilenes, Oxasqualenoids with Ser-Thr Protein Phosphatase 2A Inhibition Activity
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(4), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/md16040131 - 17 Apr 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The red seaweed Laurencia viridis is a rich source of oxygenated secondary metabolites that were derived from squalene. We report here the structures of three novel compounds, (+)-longilene peroxide (1), longilene (2), and (+)-prelongilene (3) that were [...] Read more.
The red seaweed Laurencia viridis is a rich source of oxygenated secondary metabolites that were derived from squalene. We report here the structures of three novel compounds, (+)-longilene peroxide (1), longilene (2), and (+)-prelongilene (3) that were isolated from this alga, in addition to other substances, 4 and 5, resulting from their acid-mediated degradation. The effect of compounds 1 and 3 against Ser-Thr protein phosphatase type 2A (PP2A) was evaluated, showing that (+)-longilene peroxide (1) inhibited PP2A (IC50 11.3 μM). In order to explain the interaction between PP2A and compounds 1 and 3, molecular docking simulations onto the PP2A enzyme-binding region were used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pre-Clinical Marine Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Nanocomposite of Half-Fin Anchovy Hydrolysates/Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles Exhibits Actual Non-Toxicity and Regulates Intestinal Microbiota, Short-Chain Fatty Acids Production and Oxidative Status in Mice
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/md16010023 - 11 Jan 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
The nanocomposite of half-fin anchovy hydrolysates (HAHp) and zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) (named as HAHp(3.0)/ZnO NPs) demonstrated increased antibacterial activity compared to either HAHp(3.0) or ZnO NPs as per our previous studies. Also, reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation was detected in Escherichia [...] Read more.
The nanocomposite of half-fin anchovy hydrolysates (HAHp) and zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) (named as HAHp(3.0)/ZnO NPs) demonstrated increased antibacterial activity compared to either HAHp(3.0) or ZnO NPs as per our previous studies. Also, reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation was detected in Escherichia coli cells after treatment with HAHp(3.0)/ZnO NPs. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the acute toxicity of this nanocomposite and to investigate its effect on intestinal microbiota composition, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) production, and oxidative status in healthy mice. The limit test studies show that this nanoparticle is non-toxic at the doses tested. The administration of HAHp(3.0)/ZnO NPs, daily dose of 1.0 g/kg body weight for 14 days, increased the number of goblet cells in jejunum. High-throughput 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing of fecal samples revealed that HAHp(3.0)/ZnO NPs increased Firmicutes and reduced Bacteriodetes abundances in female mice. Furthermore, the microbiota for probiotic-type bacteria, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and SCFAs-producing bacteria in the Clostridia class, e.g., Lachnospiraceae_unclassified and Lachnospiraceae_UCG-001, were enriched in the feces of female mice. Increases of SCFAs, especially statistically increased propionic and butyric acids, indicated the up-regulated anti-inflammatory activity of HAHp(3.0)/ZnO NPs. Additionally, some positive responses in liver, like markedly increased glutathione and decreased malonaldehyde contents, indicated the improved oxidative status. Therefore, our results suggest that HAHp(3.0)/ZnO NPs could have potential applications as a safe regulator of intestinal microbiota or also can be used as an antioxidant used in food products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pre-Clinical Marine Drug Discovery)
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