Samantha Coulson, Talia Palacios and Luis Vitetta
Perna canaliculus (Green-Lipped Mussel) is found only in New Zealand waters and is cultivated and manufactured for both the food and nutraceutical industry world-wide. P. canaliculus has traditionally been used as a therapeutic to treat various arthralgias in both humans and animals; however, clinical research reports provide conflicting results.
Numerous in vitro studies have reported anti-inflammatory activity of the mussel under various conditions and also demonstrated a synergistic effect with pharmaceutical medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with P. canaliculus protecting the gastrointestinal mucosal lining against such medications.
It is proposed that the anti-inflammatory activity demonstrated by P. canaliculus is predominantly due to the lipid fraction, however, among the major classes of compounds found in mussel meat, proteins and peptides are the largest with isolates demonstrating various anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, bioadhesive and anti-hypertensive activities. A review of the bioactive components, their function and therapeutic application is outlined in this chapter.
Furthermore, we hypothesise and provide supportive evidence that the gastrointestinal microbiota play an important role in disease processes such as Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis and also in the efficacy of P. canaliculus in chronic inflammatory conditions. The metabolic capacity of intestinal microbiota can modify bioactive food components altering the hosts’ exposure to these components, potentially enhancing or diminishing their health effects.
Understanding the interaction of the bioactive compounds in P. canaliculus with commensal and pathogenic bacteria may facilitate the development of novel interventions to control intestinal and extra intestinal inflammation.