Starfish extracts have been reported to exhibit a broad spectrum of pharmacological properties, which are related to the presence of typical steroidal oli-goglycosides. In the animal kingdom, these metabolites have only been found in the marine phylum Echinodermata and particularly in the class Asteroidea (sea stars). This communication offers a general view of steroid oligoglycoside distribution among starfishes and focuses on a number of recent examples, much of these from the authors laboratory, to discuss structural characteristics, biological activities and methods of investigation.
Keywords: Steroidal oligoglycosides, Asteroidea, Asterosaponins, saponins, cyclicsteroidal glycosides, echinaster sepositus, glycosides, polyhysroxysteroids, hmqc-tocsy
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