Antibiotics found in insect brains.

A group of researchers led by Simon Lee at the University of Nottingham, Uk, found the brains of certain species of cockroaches and locusts contain substances that are toxic to organisms that are resistant to antibiotics.

They focused the research on insects because of the relatively unhealthy environment they often live in where they encounter many different kinds of bacteria. Therefore it is logical that they have developed ways of protecting themselves against micro-organisms.

The scientists initially screened the whole insects but later found out that the brain is the best protected area and should show the most anti-bacterial activity.  Studies of the brain chemicals are underway to determine the one which plays the key role. Studies show that the brain extracts killed some antibiotic resistant bacteria known as superbugs. They also observed that the brain extracts stopped working when exposed to protein degrading enzymes. So the scientists supposed that some protein must actively participating in the attack against the superbugs.

The discovery could lead to various new treatments for the antibiotics resistant organisms or  superbugs related diseases but Lee says that though the brain extracts do not harm the human cells, a lot of work is still needed before drawing the final conclusions and that we are still far from using the brain extracts for developing actual drugs.

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