Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pain Free without Numbness - Substance Combination with Chili Peppers

15.05.2008
A dentist's injection typically causes numbness for several hours. This experience could soon be history. Now, Clifford Woolf, professor at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA, and his colleagues have developed a combination of two agents which is able to specifically block pain without producing numbness or motor paralysis.

The substance is composed of a normally inactive derivative of the local anesthetic lidocaine, called QX314, and capsaicin, the pain-producing substance in chili peppers.

Capsaicin works by opening channels present only in pain fibers to allow the QX314 only into these cells, where it blocks their function, Woolf explained in the keynote lecture "Using Pain to Block Pain" at the international conference "Development and function of somatosensation and pain" of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch, Germany. "This is the first example of using the body's own cellular channels as a drug delivery system, targeting treatment only at pain fibers," he pointed out.

Local anaesthetics are pain killers which are used during operations whereby patients remain alert during the procedure and thus, do not require general anaesthesia. "These common analgesics, including lidocaine, affect, however all neurons in the treated area," Woolf said. As a result, not only are pain receptors blocked but also touch receptors, producing numbness. Neurons, controlling muscles, are silenced as well, producing a temporary paralysis.

... more about:
»Capsaicin »Membrane »QX314 »Woolf »lidocaine »neurons »receptor

In order to specifically block pain receptors and leave touch sensors and motor function unharmed, the scientists used a normally inactive positively charged form of the local anaesthetic lidocaine called QX314. This particular type of lidocaine is special in that it is not able to pass through the cell membrane of neurons because it is charged. Since local anesthetics only operate inside neurons, an injection of QX314 alone is ineffective, unlike lidocaine which passes easily through the membrane of all cells and therefore blocks all neurons.

As QX314 only enters pain neurons and, thereby, acts exclusively as a pain killer, the researchers combined it with capsaicin. Capsaicin binds a membrane receptor which is only present in the membrane of neurons responsible for pain perception. Thus, the chili pepper substance opens channels, enabling QX314 to get into the cell and then block the pain receptors. Using rats, the scientists could show that, when applied to the animals' hind paws, the combination of QX314 and capsaicin exclusively blocks pain receptors. While completely blocking the response to painful stimuli, the animals could, nevertheless, move normally and were responsive to touch.

There is, however, one disadvantage of this current strategy, said Woolf. Capsaicin activates the sensors for pain and heat. "Thus, people's mouths seem to burn when eating very spicy food," he said. "To use the pain killing combination in patients, another way of opening the channel must be found to allow the QX314 into the cell without capsaicin causing its typical painful heat sensation until the QX314 gets into the cell and then kills the pain," commented Woolf. However, he and his colleagues are working on solving this problem and have recently found promising new non-painful ways of targeting QX314 into pain fibers, which they hope will be available soon for example, for dental patients or for mothers-to-be during labor."

Barbara Bachtler
Press and Public Affairs
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch
Robert-Rössle-Straße 10; 13125 Berlin; Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 30 94 06 - 38 96
Fax: +49 (0) 30 94 06 - 38 33
e-mail: presse@mdc-berlin.de

Barbara Bachtler | Max-Delbrück-Centrum
Further information:
http://www.mdc-berlin.de/en/news
http://www.hms.harvard.edu/dms/neuroscience/fac/woolf.html

Further reports about: Capsaicin Membrane QX314 Woolf lidocaine neurons receptor

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood
23.02.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht New Mechanisms of Gene Inactivation may prevent Aging and Cancer
23.02.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>