Background: Insects are the largest and the most widely distributed group of
animals in the world. Their diversity is a source of incredible variety of different mechanisms
of life processes regulation. There are many agents that regulate immunology, reproduction,
growth and development or metabolism. Hence, it seems that insects may be a
source of numerous substances useful in human diseases treatment. Especially important in
the regulation of insect physiology are peptides, like neuropeptides, peptide hormones or
antimicrobial peptides. There are two main aspects where they can be helpful, 1) Peptides
isolated from insects may become potential drugs in therapy of different diseases, 2) A lot of
insect peptide hormones show structural or functional homology to mammalian peptide
hormones and the comparative studies may give a new look on human disorders. In our review
we focused on three group of insect derived peptides: 1) immune-active peptides, 2)
peptide hormones and 3) peptides present in venoms.
Conclusion: In our review we try to show the considerable potential of insect peptides in
searching for new solutions for mammalian diseases treatment. We summarise the knowledge
about properties of insect peptides against different virulent agents, anti-inflammatory
or anti-nociceptive properties as well as compare insect and mammalian/vertebrate peptide
endocrine system to indicate usefulness of knowledge about insect peptide hormones in drug
design. The field of possible using of insect delivered peptide to therapy of various human
diseases is still not sufficiently explored. Undoubtedly, more attention should be paid to insects
due to searching new drugs.
Keywords: Insects, peptides, peptide hormones, neuropeptides, antiviral, anticancer, antibacterial, drugs.
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