Special Issue "Marine Natural Products and Autoimmune Diseases: From Chemistry and Molecular Mechanism to Clinical Efficacy"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

For decades, marine-derived drugs have played a crucial role in drug discovery development. The Nobel prize was awarded for the discovery of the natural drug Artemisinin, which has brought the therapeutic efficacy of natural product-derived chemicals into the spotlight in terms of their importance and re-established their application in clinical practice for the treatment of numerous diseases. Autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Sjogren syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis are increasingly becoming the primary cause of global health burdens. It is known that abnormal immune responses and inflammatory effects are implicated in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. Immune-related cells (traditionally, e.g., macrophages, dendritic cells, T cells and B cells, etc., and non-traditionally, e.g., glial cells, endothelial cells, epithelial cells, fibroblasts, synovial cells and liver cells, etc.), cytokines (TNF -alpha, IL-1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 17, BAFF, PGE, TGF-beta, etc.) and signal transduction (G protein-coupled receptors signaling, TNF-alpha- TRADD-TRAF2 signaling, Ras-MARPK- NF-κB signaling, BAFF-BAFFRs- -NF-κB signaling, etc.) play significant roles in the inflammatory immune responses of autoimmune diseases. Despite the efficacy of current pharmacologic strategies in the treatment of autoimmune diseases through the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (SAIDs), and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), some of these regimens have shown undesirable effects including kidney injury, bleeding in NSAID treatment and the adverse effects of ulcers. Therefore, it is crucial to search for new sources such as marine sources that provide less undesirable side effects as well as new mechanisms of action. The therapeutic effect of these drugs succeeds by regulating inflammatory responses and the abnormal immune response involved in autoimmune diseases.

The aim of this Special Issue is to shed light on the role of marine-derived drugs and strengthen their application in clinical practice for the treatment of autoimmune diseases through regulating abnormal immune responses and inflammatory effects, which are involved in autoimmune diseases. We encourage the submission of original research articles (preclinical and clinical studies) and reviews that make a novel and substantial contributions to the scientific community.

Dr. Sherif T. S. Hassan
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 2400 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.


  • marine natural products
  • autoimmune diseases
  • abnormal immune response
  • inflammatory effects
  • immune-related cells
  • preclinical and clinical studies

Published Papers (1 paper)

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A Microbiological, Toxicological, and Biochemical Study of the Effects of Fucoxanthin, a Marine Carotenoid, on Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the Enzymes Implicated in Its Cell Wall: A Link Between Mycobacterial Infection and Autoimmune Diseases
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(11), 641; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17110641 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1460
This study explored the antitubercular properties of fucoxanthin, a marine carotenoid, against clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Two vital enzymes involved in Mtb cell wall biosynthesis, UDP-galactopyranose mutase (UGM) and arylamine-N-acetyltransferase (TBNAT), were selected as drug targets to reveal the [...] Read more.
This study explored the antitubercular properties of fucoxanthin, a marine carotenoid, against clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Two vital enzymes involved in Mtb cell wall biosynthesis, UDP-galactopyranose mutase (UGM) and arylamine-N-acetyltransferase (TBNAT), were selected as drug targets to reveal the mechanism underlying the antitubercular effect of fucoxanthin. The obtained results showed that fucoxanthin showed a clear bacteriostatic action against the all Mtb strains tested, with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) ranging from 2.8 to 4.1 µM, along with a good degree of selectivity index (ranging from 6.1 to 8.9) based on cellular toxicity evaluation compared with standard drug isoniazid (INH). The potent inhibitory actions of fucoxanthin and standard uridine-5’-diphosphate against UGM were recorded to be 98.2% and 99.2%, respectively. TBNAT was potently inactivated by fucoxanthin (half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) = 4.8 µM; 99.1% inhibition) as compared to INH (IC50 = 5.9 µM; 97.4% inhibition). Further, molecular docking approaches were achieved to endorse and rationalize the biological findings along with envisaging structure-activity relationships. Since the clinical evidence of the last decade has confirmed the correlation between bacterial infections and autoimmune diseases, in this study we have discussed the linkage between infection with Mtb and autoimmune diseases based on previous clinical observations and animal studies. In conclusion, we propose that fucoxanthin could demonstrate great therapeutic value for the treatment of tuberculosis by acting on multiple targets through a bacteriostatic effect as well as by inhibiting UGM and TBNAT. Such outcomes may lead to avoiding or decreasing the susceptibility to autoimmune diseases associated with Mtb infection in a genetically susceptible host. Full article
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