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Painkillers of the future could made from a toxin excreted by a scorpion that targets the brain's 'wasabi receptor', which makes people cry when they cut onions.
Scientists say that because the toxin triggers a pain response through a previously unknown mechanism, it could be used to analyse chronic pain and inflammation.
Study - Development - Kinds - Pain - Relievers
The study suggests it may even lead to the development of new kinds of non-opioid pain relievers that would be non-addictive.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of Queensland, isolated the toxin, a short protein they dubbed the 'wasabi receptor toxin' (WaTx), from the venom of the Australian Black Rock scorpion.
Compounds - Animal - Venom - Wasabi - Receptor
They were looking for compounds in animal venom that could activate the wasabi receptor – a protein called TRPA1 that is embedded in sensory nerve endings throughout the body – and be used to study it.
When activated, TRPA1 opens to reveal a channel that allows sodium and calcium ions to flow into the cell, which can induce pain and inflammation.
Author - John - Lin - King - 'Think
Lead author John Lin King said: 'Think of TRPA1 as the body's 'fire alarm' for chemical irritants in the environment.
'When this receptor encounters a potentially harmful compound – specifically, a class of chemicals known as "reactive electrophiles", which can cause significant damage to cells – it is activated to let you know you're being exposed to something dangerous that you need to remove yourself from.'
Receptor - Chemicals - Foods - Wasabi
The receptor can be activated by chemicals in pungent foods like wasabi,...
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