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Marine Bioactives: Pharmacological Properties and Potential Applications against Inflammatory Diseases

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Author(s): Nicolantonio D’Orazio | Maria Alessandra Gammone | Eugenio Gemello | Massimo De Girolamo | Salvatore Cusenza | Graziano Riccioni

Journal: Marine Drugs
ISSN 1660-3397

Volume: 10;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 812;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: inflammation | inflammatory diseases | marine bioactives | oxidative stress | reactive oxygen species | marine carotenoids | antioxidants

ABSTRACT
Inflammation is a hot topic in medical research, because it plays a key role in inflammatory diseases: rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other forms of arthritis, diabetes, heart diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, allergies, asthma, even cancer and many others. Over the past few decades, it was realized that the process of inflammation is virtually the same in different disorders, and a better understanding of inflammation may lead to better treatments for numerous diseases. Inflammation is the activation of the immune system in response to infection, irritation, or injury, with an influx of white blood cells, redness, heat, swelling, pain, and dysfunction of the organs involved. Although the pathophysiological basis of these conditions is not yet fully understood, reactive oxygen species (ROS) have often been implicated in their pathogenesis. In fact, in inflammatory diseases the antioxidant defense system is compromised, as evidenced by increased markers of oxidative stress, and decreased levels of protective antioxidant enzymes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). An enriched diet containing antioxidants, such as vitamin E, vitamin C, β-carotene and phenolic substances, has been suggested to improve symptoms by reducing disease-related oxidative stress. In this respect, the marine world represents a largely untapped reserve of bioactive ingredients, and considerable potential exists for exploitation of these bioactives as functional food ingredients. Substances such as n-3 oils, carotenoids, vitamins, minerals and peptides provide a myriad of health benefits, including reduction of cardiovascular diseases, anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory activities. New marine bioactives are recently gaining attention, since they could be helpful in combating chronic inflammatory degenerative conditions. The aim of this review is to examine the published studies concerning the potential pharmacological properties and application of many marine bioactives against inflammatory diseases.

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