[en] Arrow and dart poisons, considered as conventional natural sources for future drug discovery, have already provided numerous biologically active molecules used as drugs in therapeutic applications or in pharmacological research. Plants containing alkaloids or cardiotonic glycosides have generally been the main ingredients responsible for the efficacy of these poisons, although some animals, such as frogs, have also been employed. This paper, without being exhaustive, reports the greater strides made during the past 15 years in the understanding of the chemical nature and biological properties of arrow and dart poison constituents. Examples both of promising biological properties shown by these molecules and of crucial discoveries achieved by their use as pharmacological tools are given. Further studies of these toxic principles are likely to enable scientists to find new valuable lead compounds, useful in many fields of research, like oncology, inflammation and infectious diseases. 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Pharmacy, pharmacology & toxicology
Phytobiology (plant sciences, forestry, mycology...)