Rosa, G.P., Tavares, W.R., Sousa, P.M.C., Pagès, A.K., Seca, A.M.L. & Pinto, D.C.G.A. (2020) Seaweeds secondary metabolites with beneficial health effects: an overview of successes in in vivo studies and clinical trials.Marine Drugs, 18(1), 8. DOI:10.3390/md18010008 (IF2020 5,118; Q1 Chemistry, Medicinal)
Macroalgae are increasingly viewed as a source of secondary metabolites with great potential for the development of new drugs. In this development, in vitro studies are only the first step in a long process, while in vivo studies and clinical trials are the most revealing stages of the true potential and limitations that a given metabolite may have as a new drug. This literature review aims to give a critical overview of the secondary metabolites that reveal the most interesting results in these two steps. Phlorotannins show great pharmaceutical potential in in vivo models and, among the several examples, the anti-dyslipidemia activity of dieckol must be highlighted because it was more effective than lovastatin in an in vivo model. The IRLIIVLMPILMA tridecapeptide that exhibits an in vivo level of activity similar to the hypotensive clinical drug captopril should still be stressed, as well as griffithsin which showed such stunning results over a variety of animal models and which will probably move onto clinical trials soon. Regarding clinical trials, studies with pure algal metabolites are scarce, limited to those carried out with kahalalide F and fucoxanthin. The majority of clinical trials currently aim to ascertain the effect of algae consumption, as extracts or fractions, on obesity and diabetes.