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Mar Drugs. 2017 Oct 17;15(10). pii: E317. doi: 10.3390/md15100317.

Sea Cucumber Glycosides: Chemical Structures, Producing Species and Important Biological Properties.

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School of Science and Technology, Bangladesh Open University, Board Bazar, Gazipur 1705, Bangladesh.
Marine Natural Products Laboratory, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, 787 Haeanro, Ansan 427-744, Korea.
World Fisheries University Pilot Programme, Pukyong National University (PKNU), 45 Yongso-ro, Nam-gu, Busan 48513, Korea.
Department of Biotechnology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Gazipur 1706, Bangladesh.


Sea cucumbers belonging to echinoderm are traditionally used as tonic food in China and other Asian countries. They produce abundant biologically active triterpene glycosides. More than 300 triterpene glycosides have been isolated and characterized from various species of sea cucumbers, which are classified as holostane and nonholostane depending on the presence or absence of a specific structural unit γ(18,20)-lactone in the aglycone. Triterpene glycosides contain a carbohydrate chain up to six monosaccharide units mainly consisting of d-xylose, 3-O-methy-d-xylose, d-glucose, 3-O-methyl-d-glucose, and d-quinovose. Cytotoxicity is the common biological property of triterpene glycosides isolated from sea cucumbers. Besides cytotoxicity, triterpene glycosides also exhibit antifungal, antiviral and hemolytic activities. This review updates and summarizes our understanding on diverse chemical structures of triterpene glycosides from various species of sea cucumbers and their important biological activities. Mechanisms of action and structural-activity relationships (SARs) of sea cucumber glycosides are also discussed briefly.


antifungal; cucumarioside; cytotoxic; glycosides; holostane; nonholostane

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