Researchers from Universities of Ulster and United Arab Emirates believe that this cuddly South American frog, called Paradoxical Frog (Pseudis paradoxa), might open new frontiers in the treatment of diabetes. The preliminary results from the study conducted by Dr Yasser Abdel-Wahab and colleagues show that synthesized version of the frog’s skin compound pseudin-2 is able to stimulate the secretion of insulin in pancreatic cells:
The paradoxical frog, Pseudis paradoxa, secretes a substance from its skin which protects it from infection. But the molecule, pseudin-2, may have another use for humans. Researchers found that it stimulates the release of insulin, the vital hormone which is deficient in diabetes sufferers.
Scientists made an artificial copy of the peptide, or protein building block, and showed that it could be used to boost insulin production in people with Type 2 diabetes.
They believe it could provide a new diabetes drug treatment, part of a new class of medicines called incretin mimetics which mimic natural substances.
…Dr Yasser Abdel-Wahab, senior lecturer in biomedical sciences at the University of Ulster, says: "We are at an exciting stage with this research.
"We have tested a more potent synthetic version of the pseudin-2 peptide and have found that it has the potential for development into a compound for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.
"Now we need to take this a step further and put our work into practice to try and help people with Type 2 diabetes.
"More research is needed, but there is a growing body of work around natural anti-diabetic drug discovery that, as you can see, is already yielding fascinating results…"
The frog research was presented … at the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference in Glasgow.
Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of the Diabetes UK charity, says: "We welcome this innovative research that could benefit some of the two million people in the UK with Type 2 diabetes.
"Although it can bemanaged with diet and physical activity, Type 2 diabetes is progressive and may require tablets and/or insulin to control it effectively.
"Good diabetes control reduces the risk of complications including blindness, heart disease, kidney problems and amputation so new treatments are vital."
The bright green and pink paradoxical frog, from Trinidad and the Amazon basin, is appropriately named because of its odd habit of shrinking with age.
As a tadpole, it can reach 27 centimetres in length, but adult frogs are only about four centimetres long.
Press release: Frog Secretions Could Offer Diabetes Treatment Hope…
Image credit: Wikipedia