Sea Snail Venom Could Treat Chronic Pain, Says Researchers
Feb 22, 2017 08:18 AM EST
A tiny snail may offer an alternative to opioids for pain relief, according to the scientists from University of Utah which claimed they have found a compound that blocks pain by targeting a pathway not associated with opioids.
Experiment done on rodents shows that the benefits continue long after the compound have cleared the body. The discoveries were reported online in the February 20 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The opioid crisis has achieved scourge extents, says the researchers. Opioids is exceptionally addictive and as indicated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 91 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. The medical community is in need of alternatives treatments that don't depend on the opioid pathways to relieve pain.
Professor in Biology Baldomera Olivera explained that nature has evolved molecules that are extremely complex and can have unexpected applications. She also said that they are interested in using venoms to understand different pathways in the nervous system.
Conus regius, a tiny marine cone snail normal to the Caribbean Sea, packs a venomous punch, equipped for incapacitating and slaughtering its prey, the researchers said.
In this study, they have found that a compound detached from snail's venom, Rg1A, follows up on a pain pathway unmistakable from that focused by opioid drugs. Utilizing rat models, the researchers demonstrated that nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) works as a pain pathway receptor and that RgIA4 is a viable compound to block this receptor. The pathway adds to few nonopioid-based pathways that could be further created to treat ceaseless chronic pain, reported BBC.
Interestingly, the length of the torment help is long, incredibly outliving the presence of the compound in the animal's system. The compound works its way through the body in 4 hours, however the researchers found the helpful impacts lingered, as described by Educator of Psychiatry of University of Utah Health Sciences, J. Michael McIntosh. According to him, they have found out that the compound was still working 72 hours after the injection and still preventing pain. The length of the result may recommend that the snail compound restoratively affects a few segments of the nervous systems.