Scientists from Sweden have discovered peptides that destroy the yeast Malassezia sympodialis, without damaging the healthy skin cells . Malassezia sympodialis can cause skin diseases such as atopic eczema, seborrheic eczema and dandruff.
There are still many issues to be resolved before these peptides can be used in humans. However, the combination of toxicity for yeast at low concentrations and safety for human cells makes these agents very promising as antifungal agents. Scientists hope that in the future these substances will be used to alleviate symptoms in patients suffering from atopic eczema.
Atopic eczema - inflammation of the skin, which is characterized by dryness, itching and flaking of the skin; begins usually in early childhood and is characterized by frequent relapses. This disease is very common: for example, in the UK about 20% of children suffer from eczema.
In addition, the prevalence of atopic eczema has been growing steadily lately. Scientists still can not find the cause of development of atopic eczema, and, accordingly, effective methods of treatment.
Yeast M. Sympodialis are one of the triggers of eczema development. Usually, the skin barrier can stop reproduction of yeast independently, but in people with eczema this mechanism is broken.
In the study, the researchers analyzed 21 different antibacterial peptides, their ability to penetrate the cell and inhibit the growth of M. Sympodialis.
Peptides are mini-proteins, which consist of the same building blocks, but much less.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are natural antibiotics that kill many different kinds of microorganisms, including yeast, bacteria, fungi and viruses. Peptides (PPS), because of their ability to penetrate cell membranes, are often researched by pharmaceutical companies that are looking for new ways of delivering drugs directly to the source of the disease.
To assess antifungal efficacy and potential toxicity to human keratinocyte cells, scientists added peptides to the growing colonies of M. Sympodialis and keratinocytes.
They found that 6 (five PPS and one AMP) of 21 peptides successfully destroyed yeast without damaging the keratinocyte membrane.
The researchers concluded that this study was the first to identify peptides as antifungal agents against M. Sympodialis.
Scientists believe that further research is needed to clarify the main mechanisms of action of these peptides. They hope that their discovery will lead to the development of new methods of treating these debilitating skin diseases.
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