The ocean covers about 75% of earth’s surface and harbours an infinite source of potential
pharmacologically active organic metabolites which are yet to be explored. With the increase of noncommunicable
and infectious diseases threatening public health and a dearth of existing drugs, researchers
are constantly in the quest for novel bioactive template compounds from natural products.
This mini-review aims at bringing to the limelight of the scientific community the polypharmacological
potential of marine natural organic products against common chronic diseases. Key databases were
probed for relevant publications geared towards pharmacological properties of marine products. Pathologies
targeted correlating with the medicinal properties of marine sponges and seaweeds were grouped
into four categories namely; cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and HIV. The possible mechanisms
of metabolites isolated from these marine products were also discussed. Callyspongynic acid derived
from sponge was found to be both effective as anti-diabetic and antiviral. It was noted that congeneric
marine sponges’ unique chemical characteristics depend on their geographical location and environment.
Moreover, a seaweed derived-metabolite (fucoidan) was found to be beneficial in the management
of obesity on long-term treatment, to have hypoglycemic effect on type 2 diabetes and to act as
an anti-cancer agent. The myriad of marine metabolites combined to the global awareness of the undiscovered
pharmacological potential of marine organisms could increase the pace of these products entering
clinical trials. This mini-review advocates for the exploitation of marine products towards the production
of novel therapeutic drugs. In conclusion, it was found that the use of marine derived bioactive
products could provide a plethora of alternative strategies for clinical applications.
Keywords: Natural products, sponges, algae, seaweeds, ocean, polypharmacology.
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