Science & Technology

Proteins from Black Mamba Venom Could Yield New Painkillers


The venom of the black mamba snake can kill people inside 20 minutes, however amongst these lethal compounds are two snake proteins, known as mambalgins, that may block ache in mice as successfully as morphine and with fewer uncomfortable side effects.

The researchers printed their findings within the journal Nature. Mambalgins had been found as a part of a seek for various ache medicine to opiates, since sufferers can develop a tolerance to opiates, requiring larger doses of the medicine over time. Opiates additionally trigger uncomfortable side effects similar to nausea, constipation, and drug dependency.


Dendroaspis polyepis was examined amongst 50 different animal venoms within the hope that there could be some sort of compounds that will alleviate ache. Mice injected with mambalgins might stand up to scorching water on their tails and paws twice so long as untreated animals. The proteins additionally diminished hypersensitivity to ache following tissue irritation. Over a 5 day testing interval, mice developed a tolerance to mambalgins, but it surely was much less pronounced than with conventional opiates. Mambalgins additionally didn’t gradual the mice’s respiratory charges.

Mambalgins bind and inhibit molecules within the household of acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs). These ion channels kind pores within the membranes of neurons and have been implicated in ache transmission, though their actual function stays poorly understood.

Mambalgins appear to inhibit totally different subtypes of ASIC relying on the injection websites, providing a number of potential targets for drug developments. Whether or not the mambalgin molecules grow to be clinically viable shouldn’t be but decided. Early checks recommend that mambalgins block some human ASICs in vitro.

Venom proteins from sea anemones, spiders, and scorpions have been utilized in biomedical functions. Prialt is one which mimics the venom of the cone snail (Conus magus).

[via Nature]

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