Skin secretions of the frog Agalychnis litodryas were evaluated for the isolation and characterisation of novel insulinotropic peptides. Crude secretions obtained from young adult frogs by mild electrical stimulation of the dorsal skin surface were purified by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) yielding 70 fractions. In acute 20-min incubations with glucose responsive BRIN-BD11 cells, fractions 39-42 (band 1) and fractions 44-46 (band 2) significantly stimulated insulin release by 2-3.5-fold compared with 5.6 mM glucose alone. Pooled fractions in band I and band 2 were rechromatographed to reveal 20 homogenous peptide peaks, which elicited significant 1.5-4-fold increases in insulin release. Mass spectrometry analyses indicated molecular masses of between 1649.2 and 4988.9 Da. The two peptides with the greatest insulin-releasing activity were directly subjected to N-terminal amino acid sequence analysis. The sequence of the 3020 Da peptide, called frog skin insulinotropic peptide or FSIP, was determined as AVWKDFLKNIGKAAGKAVLNSVTDMVNE, which has 79% homology with the C-terminal of the 75 amino acid dermaseptin BIV precursor. A partial N-terminal sequence was determined for the 2546.2 Da peptide as MLADVFEKIMGD... These data indicate that the skin secretions of A. litodryas frogs contain biologically active peptides which merit further evaluation as a new class of insulin secretagogues. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.