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Medical use for blue ring venom?

tywtly

GPO
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Joined
Dec 12, 2006
Messages
156
Ok, this is really ust a thought, let me know if it's dumb. I remember reading on here that someone said they reachd theior hand into water with a dead blue ring and experienced numbness...do you think that this could be used for anesthesia or something like that? That is, if they could isolate the numbing agent from the TTX I guess...I don't know, just a thought.
 

monty

TONMO Supporter
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Mar 8, 2004
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4,884
tywtly;98919 said:
Ok, this is really ust a thought, let me know if it's dumb. I remember reading on here that someone said they reachd theior hand into water with a dead blue ring and experienced numbness...do you think that this could be used for anesthesia or something like that? That is, if they could isolate the numbing agent from the TTX I guess...I don't know, just a thought.

It's actually a pretty good thought, but I think TTX is too good at what it does... it's used a lot for research, because it temporarily (for hours or days) blocks voltage-gated sodium channels in all nerves it's exposed to (except cardiac nerves, for some reason) which pretty much shuts them down completely... this is very useful for researchers who want to see the way nerves break when they can't use sodium channels (usually applied to a nerve or ganglion sitting in a dish outside the animal, or these days just nerve channels produced by splicing the gene to grow them in a Xenopus frog egg), but it's so good at blocking them that it completely shuts down the nerves it's exposed to, so the challenge to use it on patients would be that it's hard to limit it's scope. Right now, once it's in the bloodstream, it shuts down everything except the heart and brain (because it can't cross the blood-brain barrier) so although it makes the whole body numb, it also makes the whole body flaccidly paralyzed so it can't breath, or do anything else (digest food, cough, etc.)

TTX is actually a wonderful way to study voltage-gated sodium channels, because it doesn't permanently block the channel, so you can go back to the old configuration, and there are known mutants of the channels that are resistant to it, so studying the changes in structure that make the channel not susceptible to TTX blocking can lead to all sorts of insights into what the function of parts of the channel are, and the techniques to express cloned genes for these channels in frog eggs makes it convenient to work with them.

Blue rings and other TTX-using animals have modified sodium channels that are resistant to TTX as well; I know the cardiac TTX-proof channels from rats have been cloned, but I'm not sure if it's known if the modifications in blue rings, puffer fish, and newts are the same as the ones in rat (or human) cardiac channels. I'd hope this is being studied, since the voltage-gated sodium channel is really one of the "keystone" trans-membrane proteins being studied to understand how they work in general, since it's pretty similar across all animals, and it's a good example of many similar systems, like all of the neurotransmitter receptors that drugs like antidepressants work on.
 

DrBatty

GPO
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Aug 2, 2006
Messages
148
It's not a dumb thought at all! Doctors and chemists are really beginning to start seeking "organic" solutions to a number of conditions and illnesses that humans are prone to. Studies have served to work fantastically, particularly in vascular cases i.e.: using leeches, and in some cases, maggots.
The closest clinical study I can think of that would relate to your inquiry would be a semi-recent stroke study. Doctors discovered that use of vampire bat saliva injected into the blood stream could help prevent serious stroke damage in patients showing signs of an impending stroke. Of course, the patient had to be admitted to the hospital prior to the major part of the stroke for this to have any effectiveness, but nonetheless, those who received such treatment were by and large, successful. I think the most complaints of side effects were of stomach pains [don't quote me on that, I'm not entirely sure that is totally accurate]. :biggrin2:
I am sure there's a lab somewhere studying the effects of TTX and whether or not it could be utilized in human medicine. I reckon the time and cost of the testing, passing the FDA, and all the other red tape would be a serious deterrent from pursuing it heavily - it would take a pretty big company to fund/endorse such an endeavor and, as cool as the idea is, there may be little demand...particularly since there are already local anesthetics on the market that work pretty well. Not to mention, even if TTX could be isolated and offered as an alternative to other anesthetics, the cost may outweigh the benefits, since so few animals carry this chemical compound.
I know some biogeeks that might be interested in this, I'll ask around and see if anyone has any answers for us. :smile:
 

Tintenfisch

Architeuthis
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Nov 19, 2002
Messages
2,104
squids419;99493 said:
Amazing...I'm bringing a blue ring to the dentist next time!

'Here, Doctor, before we start my root canal, would you just hold my pet octopus for a second... oh, and give him a good squeeze, he likes that...' :twisted:
 
Joined
Aug 13, 2007
Messages
34
If they found a medical use for bluerings, they would want to slaughter them all.

bluering.jpg


This one found a good use for it's venom. The crab made a good dinner.

blueringwithcrab.jpg
 

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