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 Complementing conventional antibiotics
24.05.2018 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Building a brain, cell by cell: Researchers make a mini neuron network (of two)
23.05.2018 | Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When corals eat plastics

24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering

First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR

24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>