Archives of Pharmacal Research

, Volume 40, Issue 9, pp 1006–1020 | Cite as

Marine polysaccharides: therapeutic efficacy and biomedical applications

  • Young-Eun Lee
  • Hyeongmin Kim
  • Changwon Seo
  • Taejun Park
  • Kyung Bin Lee
  • Seung-Yup Yoo
  • Seong-Chul Hong
  • Jeong Tae Kim
  • Jaehwi LeeEmail author


The ocean contains numerous marine organisms, including algae, animals, and plants, from which diverse marine polysaccharides with useful physicochemical and biological properties can be extracted. In particular, fucoidan, carrageenan, alginate, and chitosan have been extensively investigated in pharmaceutical and biomedical fields owing to their desirable characteristics, such as biocompatibility, biodegradability, and bioactivity. Various therapeutic efficacies of marine polysaccharides have been elucidated, including the inhibition of cancer, inflammation, and viral infection. The therapeutic activities of these polysaccharides have been demonstrated in various settings, from in vitro laboratory-scale experiments to clinical trials. In addition, marine polysaccharides have been exploited for tissue engineering, the immobilization of biomolecules, and stent coating. Their ability to detect and respond to external stimuli, such as pH, temperature, and electric fields, has enabled their use in the design of novel drug delivery systems. Thus, along with the promising characteristics of marine polysaccharides, this review will comprehensively detail their various therapeutic, biomedical, and miscellaneous applications.


Marine polysaccharide Anti-cancer Anti-inflammatory Anti-viral Biosensor Tissue regeneration 



This work was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIP) (No. 2015R1A5A1008958) and Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (No. 2015R1D1A1A02062278). This study was also supported by a grant of the Korean Health Technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (Grant No. HN13C0073).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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© The Pharmaceutical Society of Korea 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of PharmacyChung-Ang UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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