Sunday , July 25 2021

Scorpion poison, medical promise

The molecule present in the scorpion venom can be used to transfer drugs to the brain. Currently, about 98% of drugs that could be useful in neurology can not be used.

Giant yellow scorpion from IsraelWikipedia

Researchers from the Peptide and Protein Laboratory of the Institute for Biomedical Research in Barcelona have once again shown that scorpions have a lot to do with science. In the journal Chemical Communications they presented a small protein (peptide) derived from chlorotoxin, which is found in the yellow venom scorpion (Giant Yellow Israeli scorpion) and can revolutionize the neurological treatment.

The protein is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, which is responsible for preventing the penetration of toxic substances into the brain. This natural obstacle that protects our nervous system from many threats is also a problem, because when it comes to the use of drugs, it makes it difficult for many drugs to reach the brain. "You can not use up to 98% of drugs that can be useful because they can not cross this barrier," says Laboratory Manager Ernest Giralt, in a statement.

Researchers have reported that they have made a chemical synthesis of chlorotoxin and a series of analogues of shorter length and greater simplicity that retain some of the properties of the original peptide. They evaluated the efficacy in the blood-brain barrier cell models that they have in the laboratory and proved that the peptide called MiniCTX3 is able to transport compounds of different nature "with high efficiency" through this barrier.

Animal poisons for the brain

This type of molecule is known as peptide transport. Before the protein was discovered in the scorpion venom, the same group identified a bee-like one. "Our goal is to help drugs reach the brain and that's why we combine them with peptides designed to cross the blood-brain barrier," said Meritxell Teixidó, a researcher and co-worker. "Only two or three groups in the world study pendulums of a shuttle shuttle, we work with different strategies, and one of them are poisons," added Giralt.

"There are thousands of poisons that contain millions of peptides that can become transports, we chose chlorotoxin because it has already been described as acting as a toxin in the brain," Teixidó said.

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