OT Mamba venom as painkiller.


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Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 5, 2012 - 05:22am PT
Okay, another non-climbing topic from Paddy Boy. I promise that someday I will start a climbing thread.

I just thought this was interesting (I know there has been research in bee venom as an anti-inflammatory as well).

Okay, some may say that a bite from a black Mamba is a painkiller, I mean when you are dead, I don't think you feel pain.

Black mamba venom is 'better painkiller' than morphine
By James Gallagher
Health and science reporter, BBC News

A painkiller as powerful as morphine, but without most of the side-effects, has been found in the deadly venom of the black mamba, say French scientists.

The predator, which uses neurotoxins to paralyse and kill small animals, is one of the fastest and most dangerous snakes in Africa.

However, tests on mice, reported in the journal Nature, showed its venom also contained a potent painkiller.

They admit to being completely baffled about why the mamba would produce it.

The researchers looked at venom from 50 species before they found the black mamba's pain-killing proteins - called mambalgins.

Dr Eric Lingueglia, from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology near Nice, told the BBC: "When it was tested in mice, the analgesia was as strong as morphine, but you don't have most of the side-effects."

Morphine acts on the opioid pathway in the brain. It can cut pain, but it is also addictive and causes headaches, difficulty thinking, vomiting and muscle twitching. The researchers say mambalgins tackle pain through a completely different route, which should produce few side-effects.

He said the way pain worked was very similar in mice and people, so he hoped to develop painkillers that could be used in the clinic. Tests on human cells in the laboratory have also showed the mambalgins have similar chemical effects in people.

But he added: "It is the very first stage, of course, and it is difficult to tell if it will be a painkiller in humans or not. A lot more work still needs to be done in animals."

Mamba magic
Dr Nicholas Casewell, an expert in snake venom at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, has recently highlighted the potential of venom as a drug source.

Commenting on this study he said: "It's very exciting, it's a really great example of drugs from venom, we're talking about an entirely new class of analgesics."

Dr Lingueglia said it was "really surprising" that black mamba venom would contain such a powerful painkiller.

Dr Casewell agreed that it was "really, really odd". He suggested the analgesic effect may work in combination "with other toxins that prevent the prey from getting away" or may just affect different animals, such as birds, differently to mice.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Dr Roger Knaggs said: "We are witnessing the discovery of a novel mechanism of action which is not a feature of any existing painkillers."

He cautioned that the mambalgins worked by injections into the spine so would need "significant development" before they could be used in people.

from Scientific American

Mambalgins, Compound From Super-Toxic Black Mamba Snake Venom, Could Yield New Painkillers

By Katherine Harmon

A bite from the black mamba snake (Dendroaspis polylepis) can kill an adult human within 20 minutes. But mixed in with that toxic venom is a new natural class of compound that could be used to help develop new painkillers.

Named “mambalgins,” these peptides block acute and inflammatory pain in mice as well as morphine does, according to a new study.

Researchers, led by Sylvie Diochot, of the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at Nice University, Sophia Antipolis in France, purified the peptides from the venom and profiled the compounds’ structure. They then were able to test the mambalgins in strains of mice with various genetic tweaks to their pain pathways. Diochot and her colleagues determined that the mambalgins work by blocking an as-yet untargeted set of neurological ion channels associated with pain signals. The findings were published online October 3 in Nature (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group).

As a bonus, mambalgins did not have the risky side effect of respiratory depression that morphine does. And the mice developed less tolerance to them over time than is typical with morphine.

Experimenting with the newfound compounds should also help researchers learn more about the mechanisms that drive pain. As the researchers noted in their paper, “It is essential to understand pain better to develop new analgesics. The black mamba peptides discovered here have the potential to address both of these aims.”

Venoms from plenty of other species of animals, including spiders, scorpions, ants and even snails, have also been studied for their analgesic potential. (My bold and italics)

Just don’t try extracting any of this venom in the wild. There is antivenom for the black mamba snake’s bite, but it is not always available, and without it, the bites are usually fatal. These snakes can move along at speeds up to about 20 kilometers per hour and grow to up to 4.4 meters in length.

Oct 5, 2012 - 05:34am PT
Yo mamba!

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Oct 5, 2012 - 10:59am PT
Aside from the obviously important and interesting medical questions the
question of what benefit this is to the Mamba is quite fascinating. I suspect
that the analgesic properties may be coincidental with some other properties
although it is hard to imagine what or why at this point. As a snake lover
the Mamba is without a doubt the one snake I would give the widest berth to
on account of their speed and notorious bad temper.

Oct 5, 2012 - 11:09am PT
Their's probably a hefty fee for even one dose; interesting alternative med.

'Couldn't help myself...


Jebus H Bomz

Reno, Nuh VAAAA duh
Oct 5, 2012 - 11:22am PT
You would have to synthesize that stuff or set up some pretty big mamba farms. Go out and milk the mambas, boy!

Big Bubba's Pain Free Mamba Ranch.

Oooh wee, city slicka! You just got a bite from Black Bessy! Yer gunna die!

Very interesting stuff though. I wonder what side effects it eliminates? Constipation, respiratory depression, allergic reactions, sedation, addiction, amongst others... Morphine could be improved upon!
beef supreme

the west
Oct 5, 2012 - 01:11pm PT
In Roald Dahl's book 'Going Solo', an autobiography of sorts, he has a very good story about a black mamba, among other things. If you liked Fantastic Fox or Charlie/ Chocolate Factory or others, I'd recommend it.
There's my children's book of the day nomination.

The Granite State.
Oct 5, 2012 - 01:39pm PT
Maybe Beatrix Kiddo can enlighten us.
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 6, 2012 - 02:54pm PT
I am bumping this because I still find it interesting. Sorry folks, a slow day for me.

Social climber
So Cal
Oct 6, 2012 - 03:42pm PT
(I know there has been research in bee venom as an anti-inflammatory as well).

My dad kept a few hives and would intentionally get stung for joint pain relief.

Well known beekeepers lore.

since one of the principal components is salicylic acid it makes perfect sense.

Oct 6, 2012 - 04:38pm PT
I wonder what is the appropriate amount of pain those mice must experience before they are medicated to effect?
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 10, 2012 - 07:40am PT
TGT, one of my nephews who kept hives on my mom's land would also get stung intentionally, to build up resistance he claimed.

As for me, I am allergic to bee/wasp/hornet etc venom. Back in the 1970s a main climbing buddy, Jim Keating was the same. We had epi pens.

Back around 1976, Dave Hitchcock, Ed Barry and I were headed up to do the Braille Book, I was in front hopping over the boulders/talus etc. All of a sudden I started screaming, Ed and Dave thought I was flipping out. There was a huge hornet attached to my arm, and then up the trousers, back, chin, and then the swarm. We were like the Three Stooges scrambling down the slope, with the swarm chasing us.

I was the unlucky one, those two guys didn't get stung. I had eight stings (and the little feckers bite too). Being allergic, the three of us where headed to Lewis Memorial when we ran into another climber at C4, a doctor. He gave me some anti-histamines.

My left hand swelled to where it would jam in any off-width, but that was it, no anaphylactic shock.

Still I suppose better than being bitten by a black mamba.
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 10, 2012 - 09:18am PT
EC, that is a wicked video. I never saw any of the Kill Bills, as I don't think much (at all) of Tarantino, but watching that clip, it gives me the creeps and next time I hope a suitcase full of money, I'll do it with a barge pole and shotgun.
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 10, 2012 - 10:12am PT
Unfortunately Hankster, we never got on the route at that time, we were busy scrambling down the slope fleeing the mad hornets.

I still would like to do that climb.
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