Marine environments have a high quantity and diversity of sulfated polysaccharides. In
coastal regions brown algae are the most abundant biomass producers and their cell walls have fucosecontaining
sulfated polysaccharides (FCSP), known as fucans and/or fucoidans. These sulfated compounds
have been widely researched for their biomedical properties, namely the immunomodulatory,
haemostasis, pathogen inhibition, anti-inflammatory capacity, and antitumoral. These activities are
probably due to their ability to mimic the carbohydrate moieties of mammalian glycosaminoglycans.
Therefore, the FCSP are interesting compounds for application in health-related subjects, mainly for
developing scaffolds for delivery systems or tissue regeneration. FCSP showed potential for these applications
also due to their ability to form stable 3D structures with other polymers able to entrap therapeutic
agents or cell and growth factors, besides their biocompatibility and biodegradability. However,
for the clinical use of these biopolymers well-defined reproducible molecules are required in order to
accurately establish relationships between structural features and human health applications.
Keywords: Fucans, fucoidans, antitumoral, structural characteristics, delivery devices, tissue engineering.
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