Study of snake venom in mice reveals potential new strategy for relieving agony
A snakebite may bring on a world of hurt, but a substance found in black mamba venom could actually relieve pain. The finding reveals a new possible approach for pain treatment, researchers report online October 3 in Nature.
The black mamba, Dendroaspis polylepis polylepis, is one of the most lethal snakes on Earth. But a team of researchers in France found that compounds in the snake’s venom have the same pain-banishing effect on mice that morphine does.
The compounds, called mambalgins, appear to work by blocking certain channels in nerve cells. Under acidic conditions, these channels open up, triggering pain signals. By preventing the flow of charged atoms through these channels, the mambalgins stop pain signal