Natural Sulfated Polysaccharides for the Prevention and Control of Viral Infections

  • Carlos A. PujolEmail author
  • María J. Carlucci
  • María C. Matulewicz
  • Elsa B. Damonte
Part of the Topics in Heterocyclic Chemistry book series (TOPICS, volume 11)


The inhibitory action of polyanionic substances on virus replication was reported more than 50 years ago. Seaweeds, marine invertebrates, and higher plants represent abundant sources of novel compounds of proved antiviral activity. Natural sulfated polysaccharides (SPs) are potent in vitro inhibitors of a wide variety of enveloped viruses, such as herpes simplex virus (HSV) types 1 and 2, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), dengue virus (DENV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and influenza A virus. Several polysulfate compounds have the potential to inhibit virus replication by blocking the virion binding to the host cell. In contrast, their in vivo efficacy in animal and human systemic infections has undesirable drawbacks, such as poor absorption, toxic side effects, inability to reach target tissues, and anticoagulant properties. At the present time, SPs have been tested in clinical trials as topical microbicides to prevent sexually transmitted diseases caused by diverse pathogens including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. The resistance to antiviral agents that arises during drug treatment is one of the reasons for the continuous search for new compounds. In this respect, SPs are considered suitable tools to prevent viral infections in humans and to be used as a new strategy for antiviral chemotherapy.

Antiviral activity Chemical structure Natural sulfated polysaccharides Polyanions Seaweeds 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos A. Pujol
    • 1
    Email author
  • María J. Carlucci
    • 1
  • María C. Matulewicz
    • 2
  • Elsa B. Damonte
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Química Biológica, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y NaturalesUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Departamento de Química Orgánica, CIHIDECAR-CONICET, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y NaturalesUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina

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