Multifunctional sulphated polysaccharides from marine ecosystem as therapeutic agents

Multifunctional sulphated polysaccharides from marine ecosystem as therapeutic agents
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality worldwide. Among them are the thromboembolic events due to the formation of a thrombus or clot inside the circulatory system. Stasis or blood coagulation, damage of the vascular wall and change in the concentration of leukocytes or platelets cause thrombus formation. The occurrence of the thromboembolic process necessarily requires anticoagulant therapy.

From the the past few decades, heparin is the widely used anticoagulant for the treatment. Heparin has the highest negative charge density of any known biomolecule described in vertebrate tissues so far. This use of heparin as long-term therapy causes a number of side effects, such as bleeding, thrombocytopenia, changes in lipid metabolism and osteoporosis.

Marine organisms are a rich source of new substances with potential application in medicine, although they are not well explored. In particular, sulphated polysaccharides from marine invertebrates and algae possess unique structures and specific biological effects when tested in mammalian systems. The most abundant sulphated polysaccharides found in algae and marine invertebrates are sulphated fucans (also known as fucoidans when isolated from brown algae) and sulphated galactans (also known as carrageenans when isolated from red algae). In general, algal polysaccharides have more complex structures than polymers from marine invertebrates.

Most studies on the effect of anticoagulant sulphated polysaccharides aim at selecting the most active native or chemically sulphated derivatives of natural polysaccharides in biological assays. Thus, the anticoagulant activity of the sulphated fucans increases with increasing sulphur content.

Sulphated polysaccharides have their significance in the following areas apart from anticoagulant property.

Antiviral activity
The ability of sulphated polysaccharide from seaweeds to inhibit the replication of enveloped viruses including Herpes simplex virus, human immunodeficiency virus, human cytomegalovirus, dengue virus and the respiratory syncytial virus is well established.

Immunoinflammatory activity
Sulphated polysaccharides from algae have been shown to possess immunomodulatory activities that may be of potential application in stimulating the immune response or in controlling the immune cell activity to mitigate associated negative effects, such as inflammation, for e.g. in a rabbit model of bacterial meningitis, leukocyte rolling markedly reduced by intravenous infusion of fucoidans.

Antilipidemic activity
Algal sulphated polysaccharide exerts lipid lowering and other beneficial properties in hyperlipidemic animal models.

Anti-oxidant activity
Studies revealed that sulphated polysaccharides from a number of seaweeds have a good anti-oxidant capability, for e.g. fucans from F. vesiculosus exhibit considerable ferric reducing anti-oxidant power and superoxide radical scavenging activity.

How to cite this article:
Shwetha Shankaranarayanan. Multifunctional sulphated polysaccharides from marine ecosystem as therapeutic agents . BioLim O-Media. 26 August, 2016. 4(8).
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