Anti-inflammatory potential of invasive sun corals (Scleractinia: Tubastraea spp.) from Brazil: alternative use for management?
Objectives: The objective was to analyse the anti-inflammatory potential of the invasive coral species Tubastraea coccinea and Tubastraea tagusensis. Methods: Methanolic extracts, fractions and synthesized compounds were evaluated for their anti-inflammatory ability, and their composition was elucidated through chemical analysis. Key findings: The genus Tubastraea (Order Scleractinia, Family Dendrophylliidae) (known as sun corals) presents compounds with pharmacological value. The introduction of these azooxanthellate hard corals into Brazil, initially in Rio de Janeiro state, occurred through their fouling of oil and gas platforms from the Campos oil Basin. The two invasive species have successfully expanded along the Brazilian coast and threaten endemic species and biodiversity. The HPLC-MS and GC-MS data suggest the presence of aplysinopsin analogues (alkaloids). Anti-inflammatory activity was observed in all samples tested in in-vivo assays, especially in T. coccinea. The ethyl acetate fraction from this sample was more effective in in-vitro assays for anti-inflammatory activity. Depending on the concentration, this fraction showed cytotoxic responses. Conclusions: These species have potential pharmacological use, and considering their invasive nature, this study presents a potential alternative use, which may enhance the management of this biological invasion.