Biological importance and applications of squalene and squalane.
Squalene is a polyunsaturated hydrocarbon with a formula of C₃₀H₅₀. Squalene can be found in certain fish oils, especially shark liver oil, in high amounts and some vegetable oils in relatively smaller amounts. Human sebum also contains 13% squalene as one of its major constituents. Squalane is a saturated derivative of squalene and also found in these sources. Interest in squalene has been raised after its characterization in shark liver oil which is used as a traditional medicine for decades. Several studies exhibited results that prove certain bioactivities for squalene and squalane. Up to date, anticancer, antioxidant, drug carrier, detoxifier, skin hydrating, and emollient activities of these substances have been reported both in animal models and in vitro environments. According to promising results from recent studies, squalene and squalane are considered important substances in practical and clinical uses with a huge potential in nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries.