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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2009, Article ID 452567, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2009/452567
Review Article

Dermaseptins and Magainins: Antimicrobial Peptides from Frogs' Skin—New Sources for a Promising Spermicides Microbicides—A Mini Review

1Laboratory of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, 4002 Sousse, Tunisia
2Institut Pasteur, Unité des Virus Lents, CNRS URA 1930, 75015 Paris, France

Received 4 December 2008; Accepted 17 August 2009

Academic Editor: Lori Snyder

Copyright © 2009 Amira Zairi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the causative agents of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), are two great concerns in the reproductive health of women. Thus, the challenge is to find products with a double activity, on the one hand having antimicrobial/antiviral properties with a role in the reduction of STI, and on the other hand having spermicidal action to be used as a contraceptive. In the absence of an effective microbicide along with the disadvantages of the most commonly used spermicidal contraceptive worldwide, nonoxynol-9, new emphasis has been focused on the development of more potential intravaginal microbicidal agents. Topical microbicides spermicides would ideally provide a female-controlled method of self-protection against HIV as well as preventing pregnancies. Nonoxynol-9, the only recommended microbicide spermicide, damages cervicovaginal epithelium because of its membrane-disruptive properties. Clearly, there is an urgent need to identify new compounds with dual potential microbicidal properties; antimicrobial peptides should be candidates for such investigations. Dermaseptins and magainins are two classes of cationic, amphipathic -helical peptides that have been identified in the skin extracts of frogs Phyllomedusa sauvagei and Xenopus laevis. Regarding their contraceptive activities and their effect against various STI-causing pathogens, we believe that these two peptides are appropriate candidates in the evaluation of newer and safer microbicides spermicides in the future.