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Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc. 2014 Aug;89(3):618-55. doi: 10.1111/brv.12072. Epub 2013 Dec 3.

From frog integument to human skin: dermatological perspectives from frog skin biology.

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The Dermatology Centre, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Institute of Inflammation and Repair, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PT, U.K.


For over a century, frogs have been studied across various scientific fields, including physiology, embryology, neuroscience, (neuro)endocrinology, ecology, genetics, behavioural science, evolution, drug development, and conservation biology. In some cases, frog skin has proven very successful as a research model, for example aiding in the study of ion transport through tight epithelia, where it has served as a model for the vertebrate distal renal tubule and mammalian epithelia. However, it has rarely been considered in comparative studies involving human skin. Yet, despite certain notable adaptations that have enabled frogs to survive in both aquatic and terrestrial environments, frog skin has many features in common with human skin. Here we present a comprehensive overview of frog (and toad) skin ontogeny, anatomy, cytology, neuroendocrinology and immunology, with special attention to its unique adaptations as well as to its similarities with the mammalian integument, including human skin. We hope to provide a valuable reference point and a source of inspiration for both amphibian investigators and mammalian researchers studying the structural and functional properties of the largest organ of the vertebrate body.


antimicrobial peptides; barrier; dermatology; frogs; neuroendocrinology; osmoregulation; pigmentation; secretion; skin structure and function; wound healing

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