Skin Care Products May Soon Come from Toad Brains

Apr 26, 2011, 06:46 by David Hope

Skin care products often contain fruit extracts, seeds and rare oils found in nature. But, have you ever thought that toad brains may be a good thing for your body or skin?

Frog and toad skins, long known for germ-fighting substances, have been joined by amphibians' brains as a source of similar substances, Chinese researchers say.

An article in an American Chemical Society journal says toad brains contain an abundance of antibacterial and antiviral substances that could inspire a new generation of medicines.

Scientists say they know little about the germ-fighting proteins in amphibian brains despite many studies showing amphibians synthesize and secrete a remarkably diverse array of antimicrobial substances in their skin.

So researchers in China, with funding from the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation and the Ministry of Science and Technology, analyzed brains from two species, the Giant Fire-Bellied Toad and the Small-webbed Bell Toad, a release from the society said Wednesday.

Their analysis identified 79 antimicrobial peptides, the components of proteins, including 59 that were totally new to science, they said.

This diversity of peptides, they said, "is, to our knowledge, the most extreme yet described for any animal brains."

Some of the peptides showed strong antimicrobial activity, crippling or killing strains of staph bacteria, E. coli, and the fungus that causes yeast infections in humans, the researchers reported.

That suggests toad brains might be a valuable source for developing new antibacterial creams and antiviral drugs, they said.

Source: UPI