A slimy secretion with which spiny starfish coat themselves could be the next big thing in anti-inflammatory medicine for treating conditions, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis and arthritis. Marthasterias glacialis uses a complex mixture of glycoproteins in its "mucin" as an antifouling agent to prevent other sea creatures from making a home on the surface of the starfish, much as a boat's hull is coated to prevent barnacles from sticking. According to Clive Page of King's College London, laboratory tests show that starfish mucins inhibit the adhesion of human neutrophils to cultured human vascular endothelial cells but have no anticoagulant activity. Such characteristics might be a useful lead in the search for anti-inflammatory compounds.
Could starfish inspire new cure for inflammation?