Frog skin secretions bring hope for diabetic patients

Updated: 2008-03-04 11:00

LONDON -- Skin secretions from a South American frog could be used to treat type 2 diabetes, researchers say.

A compound isolated from the "shrinking" frog, which grows to 27 cm as a tadpole before shrinking to 4 cm in adulthood, stimulates insulin release and a synthetic version of the compound-- pseudin-2 -- could be used to produce new drugs, BBC reported on Monday.

Scientists from the University of Ulster and United Arab Emirates University have tested a synthetic version of pseudin-2, which protects the frog from infection, and found it stimulated the secretion of insulin in pancreatic cells in the laboratory and importantly, there were no toxic effects on the cells, according to the report.

The synthetic version was better at stimulating insulin than the natural compound, opening the way for its potential development as a drug for treating diabetes, according to study leader Yasser Abdel-Wahab, senior lecturer in biomedical sciences at the University of Ulster.

"We found that it stimulated the secretion of insulin and that the synthetic version is more potent than pseudin-2 itself," Yasser Abdel-Wahab said.

However, he said there had been a lot of research into bioactive molecules from amphibian skin secretions.

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