Snake venom contains potent painkiller equivalent to morphine as suggested by latest research published in the journal of Nature. The black mamba is one of the most venomous snakes that can kill humans within half an hour after biting.
Researchers’ isolated protein named as mambalgins from snake venom and administered into the mice. “Then they tested how long it took those mice to yank their paws out of water heated to a painful—but not damaging—115 degrees Fahrenheit. Turns out mice treated with mambalgins could take the heat for just as long as mice dosed with morphine, indicating the two drugs had similar pain-relieving effects.”
Morphine directly acts on opiod receptors but mode of action of mambalgins follow different pathway. One of the advantages of mambalgins is that it does slow down breathing rate like morphine and body does not produce tolerance
Manufacturers like French company Theralpha are now attempting to prepare drug from the venom. Just don’t call it snake oil.
As mentioned in Nature journal:
“Polypeptide toxins have played a central part in understanding physiological and physiopathological functions of ion channels1, 2. In the field of pain, they led to important advances in basic research3, 4,5, 6 and even to clinical applications7, 8. Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are generally considered principal players in the pain pathway9, including in humans10. A snake toxin activating peripheral ASICs in nociceptive neurons has been recently shown to evoke pain11. Here we show that a new class of three-finger peptides from another snake, the black mamba, is able to abolish pain through inhibition of ASICs expressed either in central or peripheral neurons. These peptides, which we call mambalgins, are not toxic in mice but show a potent analgesic effect upon central and peripheral injection that can be as strong as morphine. This effect is, however, resistant to naloxone, and mambalgins cause much less tolerance than morphine and no respiratory distress. Pharmacological inhibition by mambalgins combined with the use of knockdown and knockout animals indicates that blockade of heteromeric channels made of ASIC1a and ASIC2a subunits in central neurons and of ASIC1b-containing channels in nociceptors is involved in the analgesic effect of mambalgins. These findings identify new potential therapeutic targets for pain and introduce natural peptides that block them to produce a potent analgesia.”
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Source: Nature Journal
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