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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 12-14

Use of “tilapia” as a therapeutic agent in oral mucosal burns: An unprecedented proposal

1 Babu Banarasi Das College of Dental Sciences, BBD University, Lucknow, India
2 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, People's College of Dental Sciences and Research Center, People's University, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
3 Department of Public Health Dentistry, People's College of Dental Sciences and Research Center, People's University, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Date of Submission09-Dec-2021
Date of Acceptance28-Jan-2022
Date of Web Publication08-Jun-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Areeba Shahid
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Flat No. C-1, Tuba Palace, 15, Madan Mohan Malviya Marg, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijb.ijb_31_21

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Water bodies purvey plenty of natural resources that are utilized to manufacture materials or are employed as novel medicines in medical and dental practice. Among sponges, corals, fishes, and other marine life forms, one promising source is the “tilapia fish.” It is principally farmed for the utilization and construction of therapeutic biomaterials. As oral physicians or dental practitioners, we grapple with many oral lesions and wounds in routine practice, “burns” being one of them. Tilapia skin and its collagen are being applied for dermatological burns. Since the branch of medicine encourages innovative ideas and research work in the treatment of challenging oral lesions, this article aims to communicate the idea of its usefulness in oral burns and alike lesions, making tilapia a neoteric healing agent, keeping in mind the remarkable biological properties it possesses.

Keywords: Oral burns, oral gel, tilapia, tilapia collagen, tilapia skin

How to cite this article:
Shahid A, Ganiga SC, Shivakumar S. Use of “tilapia” as a therapeutic agent in oral mucosal burns: An unprecedented proposal. Indian J Burns 2021;29:12-4

How to cite this URL:
Shahid A, Ganiga SC, Shivakumar S. Use of “tilapia” as a therapeutic agent in oral mucosal burns: An unprecedented proposal. Indian J Burns [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Apr 1];29:12-4. Available from: https://www.ijburns.com/text.asp?2021/29/1/12/346913

  Perspective Top

Marine life forms are the most prominent examples of impeccable bioresources. Their rich diversity excites the environmental biologists, making them plumb the water depths to procure the biomaterials for fabricating efficient and safe medications to treat various medical ailments ranging from chronic pain to grave malignancies. Currently, potent applications of the aquatic bioactive materials have secured a place in operative and reconstructive esthetic procedures. These possess umpteen biological properties such as antitumoral, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties and also serve as scaffolds for tissue regeneration. The progress in the field of marine biology has drawn the special attention of dental practitioners. Few such marine-derived dental materials including agar, alginate, chitosan, calcium phosphate, hydroxyapatite, biosilica, etc., have acquired a strong foothold over these years.[1] One such great source of modern medicine is Tilapia. It has found application in the resolution of dermatological burns in burnt victims. The proposition behind this article is to deliver the innovative concept of applying tilapia skin and its derivatives in oral burns.

  Oral Burns Top

Burns occurring inside the oral cavity or around the perioral structures are resultant of thermal exposures, contact with chemicals, or electrical abuse; they can be medication-induced lichenoid reactions or independent deep oral wounds due to accidental infliction, oral contracture, etc. Most burns are facile, requiring supportive treatment in the form of topical applications; however, there is no definitive protocol for treating them. Appropriate management is mandatory to achieve pain alleviation, prevention of secondary infection, and accelerated repair of injured tissues, to reinstate the altered orofacial function and esthetics.[2]

  Tilapia's Origin, Production, and Use of its Collagen in Oral Burns and Wounds Top

Collagen owing to its properties such as “low immunogenicity, biodegradability, and good biocompatibility” is extensively used in wound dressing. Collagen molecules potentially promote wound epithelialization and rapid healing.[3] Traditionally, the majority of the collagen is obtained from cattle, hogs, or chicken waste, actualizing the risk of acquiring serious health hazards.[4] This contradicts its wide application. Contrastingly, marine biomaterials furnish significant therapeutic benefits which have lately developed great interest among the health researchers. Of late, extensive studies have been conducted dealing with the procurement and utilization of tilapia fish collagen, rendering it readily acceptable by all the cultural and religious groups. Tilapia is a freshwater fish native to and cultivated in Africa, Asia, Thailand, and Brazil.[5],[6] In India, it forms a decent proportion of the Ganges waters. “Mozambique tilapia” was the first to be introduced in India in 1952 (Sugunan 1995), followed by other varieties and hybrids. Considering it highly useful, the Indian government has encouraged tilapia husbandry in the fisheries sector.[7] The fish's skin is nonconsumable and usually thrown away. Tilapia is composed of tiny collagen fibers, which speed up the healing process by promoting adherent properties of the cells, “accretion,” and “differentiation.”[8] Its skin collagen is currently being utilized in the manufacturing of cosmetics, oral supplements, etc.[7]

Applying tilapia skin directly over the burnt site is questionable. Ample studies need to be executed to ascertain the “mucoadhesive” and “suturable” properties of its skin at the wound or surgical sites. Previously, tilapia skin has been utilized in burnt victims, as reported in this case.[9] Brazilian researchers have fabricated a depurated tilapia skin dressing for moderate and severe dermal burns, vivifying many clinical studies.[10] They presume the treatment to be inexpensive, causing amelioration and diminishing the requirement of analgesics. Collagen fibers which are predominantly found in the tilapia skin and help in maintaining moisture are also found inside the oral cavity. Since saliva inside the mouth aids in rapid healing, this, in conjunction with tilapia skin, can even accelerate the healing process.

  Novel Suggestions For Fabrication of Medications Using Tilapia Collagen Top

Considering the above properties, tilapia skin can be modified into a surface sheet or film containing active medication that can be used on the inner surface of the cheeks at the burnt site. The chief collagen peptide protein, i.e., “tilapia hepcidin,” procured from its skin, can be dried and grounded into a fine powder. This can be mixed with orabase/dental paste favoring the formation of a biodegradable oral gel and applied topically over the burnt or affected site. Ge et al.[3] prepared water-based collagen gel from the tilapia skin, and Ullah et al.[11] isolated collagen from the tilapia scales, and amalgamated it with chitosan and glycerin for the repair and restoration of impaired tissues. Antimicrobial peptides derived from the fish have already demonstrated antineoplastic activity and an article proposes its application in oral cancer.[12] Literature mentions no significant studies that have been done to investigate the anti-inflammatory activity of fish collagen. However, Liu et al.[13] performed a study to evaluate the anti-inflammatory effects of hydrolyzed tilapia collagen. Considering the healing properties of tilapia, we put forward the thought of its application inside the oral cavity. However, various clinical trials should be encouraged to test its potentiality as a novel curative agent.

  Conclusion Top

Marine organisms hold great potential to commingle themselves with human tissue, promoting regeneration and healing. In this context, considering the biological properties of tilapia, we think its use can be revolutionary. Procuring collagen peptides from the tilapia skin, with similar properties shared by the collagen derived from the conventional sources can be a boon in novel medicine production. Its application is being tested in extraoral burns and wounds. However, experimental studies are required to test its potentiality in intraoral and perioral burns and medication-induced mucosal alterations.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Shaikh SH. Diverse application of marine components and bioactives in dentistry: A review. World J Adv Sci Res 2020;3:169-81.  Back to cited text no. 1
Kang S, Kufta K, Sollecito TP, Panchal N. A treatment algorithm for the management of intraoral burns: A narrative review. Burns 2018;44:1065-76.  Back to cited text no. 2
Ge B, Wang H, Li J, Liu H, Yin Y, Zhang N, et al. Comprehensive assessment of Nile Tilapia skin (Oreochromis niloticus) collagen hydrogels for wound dressings. Mar Drugs 2020;18:E178.  Back to cited text no. 3
Potaros T, Raksakulthai N. Characteristics of collagen from Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) skin isolated by two different methods. Kasetsart J (Natural Science) 2009;43:584-93.  Back to cited text no. 4
Osama M. Use of Nile Tilapia (Oreochromisniloticus) skin in the management of skin burns. J Pak Med Assoc 2017;67:1955.  Back to cited text no. 5
Valenzuela-Rojo DR, Lopez-Cervantes J, Sánchez-Machado DI. Tilapia (Oreochromis aureus) collagen for medical biomaterials. In: Seaweed Biomaterials. London, UK. IntechOpen 2018;47-66. Available form: http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/intechopen. 77051. [Last accessed on 2021 Nov 07].  Back to cited text no. 6
Menaga M, Fitzsimmons K. Growth of the tilapia industry in India. World Aquac 2017;48:49-52.  Back to cited text no. 7
Zhou T, Wang N, Xue Y, Ding T, Liu X, Mo X, et al. Electrospun tilapia collagen nanofibers accelerating wound healing via inducing keratinocytes proliferation and differentiation. Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces 2016;143:415-22.  Back to cited text no. 8
Lima-Junior EM, de Moraes Filho MO, Costa BA, Fechine FV, de Moraes ME, Silva-Junior FR, et al. Innovative treatment using tilapia skin as a xenograft for partial thickness burns after a gunpowder explosion. J Surg Case Rep 2019;2019:rjz181.  Back to cited text no. 9
Whitaker P, Garcia P. Brazilian Doctors Use Fish Skin to Treat Burn Victims; 2017. Available from: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-brazilburnsidUSKBN18L1WH. [Last accessed on 2017 May 28].  Back to cited text no. 10
Ullah S, Zainol I, Chowdhury SR, Fauzi MB. Development of various composition multicomponent chitosan/fish collagen/glycerin 3D porous scaffolds: Effect on morphology, mechanical strength, biostability and cytocompatibility. Int J Biol Macromol 2018;111:158-68.  Back to cited text no. 11
Sarode GS, Gupta K, Maniyar N, Sarode SC, Panta P, Patil S. Use of tilapia hepcidin in oral cancer therapeutics: A proposal. J Contemp Dent Pract 2019;20:403-4.  Back to cited text no. 12
Liu C, Liu X, Xue Y, Ding T, Sun J. Hydrolyzed tilapia fish collagen modulates the biological behavior of macrophages under inflammatory conditions. RSC Adv 2015;5:30727-36.  Back to cited text no. 13


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