Background: Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease,
and cerebral ischemic stroke, impose enormous socio-economic burdens on both patients and health-care
systems. However, drugs targeting these diseases remain unsatisfactory, and hence there is an urgent
need for the development of novel and potent drug candidates.
Methods: Animal toxins exhibit rich diversity in both proteins and peptides, which play vital roles in
biomedical drug development. As a molecular tool, animal toxin peptides have not only helped clarify
many critical physiological processes but also led to the discovery of novel drugs and clinical therapeutics.
Results: Recently, toxin peptides identified from venomous animals, e.g. exenatide, ziconotide, Hi1a, and
PcTx1 from spider venom, have been shown to block specific ion channels, alleviate inflammation, decrease
protein aggregates, regulate glutamate and neurotransmitter levels, and increase neuroprotective
Conclusion: Thus, components of venom hold considerable capacity as drug candidates for
the alleviation or reduction of neurodegeneration. This review highlights studies evaluating
different animal toxins, especially peptides, as promising therapeutic tools for the treatment of
different neurodegenerative diseases and disorders.