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Miraculous! Maybe I’ll have to keep that sneaky black widow living in my window frame… Let’s pray that the human tests work as well as the rat tests.

Spider venom found to reduce stroke-induced brain damage

The Australian funnel-web spider could prove a lifesaver for future stroke victims after a peptide in...
The Australian funnel-web spider could prove a lifesaver for future stroke victims after a peptide in its venom was discovered to reduce brain damage in a study involving rats(Credit:pelooyen/Depositphotos)

The Australian funnel-web spider is generally something you’d want to steer well clear of, but the creepy crawly could soon be helping out stroke victims. A peptide found in the spider’s venom has been shown to reduce the brain damage that occurs in the hours following a stroke, with early preclinical studies involving rats having delivered extremely promising results.

A University of Queensland research team, led by Professor Glenn King, has spent several years unravelling the potential medical benefits found in one of the world’s most deadly spider venoms. In 2015, the team found a particular peptide in the venom that blocked the pathway responsible for sending pain signals from nerves to the brain.

“The small protein we discovered, Hi1a, blocks acid-sensing ion channels in the brain, which are key drivers of brain damage after stroke,” Professor King explains.

When a person is struck down by a stroke, they most often have a blockage causing reduced blood flow in certain areas of the brain. When these brain cells become starved of oxygen, they switch their metabolic pathways to rely on a different source of energy, but this has a byproduct of producing an acidic condition in the brain that causes permanent cellular damage. This is how a stroke most often leads to brain damage.

In a small study on rats, the research team administered the peptide following induced strokes in rats. They found that a single dose administered two hours after a stroke reduced the potential brain damage by nearly 80 percent. More interestingly, even when the substance was administered eight hours after the stroke, researchers still saw a 65 percent reduction in brain damage.

Read the full article: http://newatlas.com/deadly-spider-venom-protects-stroke-damage/48525/

 

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