An overview on natural polysaccharides with antioxidant properties

Curr Med Chem. 2013;20(23):2899-913. doi: 10.2174/0929867311320230006.


Pharmacotherapy using natural substances can be currently regarded as a very promising future alternative to conventional therapy. With the rapid development of biotechnologies and analytical techniques, a great number of methods have been developed for the identification and quantification of the material, extracts, and products of natural ingredients. The advances available today. The need for safer drugs without side effects has led to the use of natural ingredients with proven safety. In recent years, some bioactive polysaccharides isolated from natural sources have attracted much attention in the field of biochemistry and pharmacology. As an example, polysaccharides or their glycoconjugates were shown to exhibit multiple biological activities including anticarcinogenic, anticoagulant, immunostimulating, antioxidant, etc. During the last several years, we have witnessed a steady expansion in the number of publications that focus in antioxidant polysaccharides. This review presents current findings on the latest advancements and trends in antioxidant polysaccharides isolated from the following: plants, fungi, bacteria, animal sources, and algae. Some interesting studies focus on investigation of the relationship between their structure and antioxidant activity, elucidation of their antioxidant mechanism at the molecular level, and improvement of their various biological activities by chemical modifications. Although the mechanism of their antioxidant action is still not completely clear, these polysaccharides are suggested to enhance cell-mediated immune responses in vivo and in vitro and act as biological response modifiers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / chemistry*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / chemistry
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Cyanobacteria / chemistry
  • Cyanobacteria / drug effects
  • Fungi / chemistry
  • Fungi / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry*
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology


  • Antioxidants
  • Polysaccharides