The compatible solute ectoine is one of the most abundant and powerful cytoprotectant in the microbial world. Due to its unique ability to stabilize biological membranes and macromolecules it has been successfully commercialized as ingredient of various over-the-counter drugs, achieving primarily epithelial protection. While trying to elucidate the mechanism of its cell protective properties in in-vitro studies, a significant anti-inflammatory effect was documented for the small molecule. The tissue protective potential of ectoine considerably improved organ quality during preservation. In addition, ectoine and derivatives have been demonstrated to significantly decrease inflammatory cytokine production, thereby alleviating the inflammatory response following organ transplantation, and launching new therapeutic options for pathologies such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). In this review, we aim to summarize the knowledge of this fairly nascent field of the anti-inflammatory potential of diverse ectoines. We also point out that this promising field faces challenges in its biochemical and molecular substantiations, including defining the molecular mechanisms of the observed effects and their regulation. However, based on their potent cytoprotective, anti-inflammatory, and non-toxic properties we believe that ectoines represent promising candidates for risk free interventions in inflammatory pathologies with steeply increasing demands for new therapeutics.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.