Spider venom messes with our brains—and may help protect them from harm
Tuesday March 21, 2017. 12:36 AM , from Ars Technica
Enlarge / The Australian funnel-web spider (Hadronyche infensa). (credit: Toby Hudson)
It may not be radioactive, but venom from a dangerous spider in Australia may help give researchers the super power of protecting brains from strokes.
Venom from the Australian funnel-web spider (Hadronyche infensa) contains a chemical that shuts down an ion channel known to malfunction in brain cells after strokes, researchers report Monday in PNAS. In cell experiments, the harmless chemical protected brain cells from a toxic flood of ions unleashed after a stroke strikes. In rats, the venom component markedly protected the rats’ brains from extensive damage—even when it was given hours after a stroke occurred.
That “translates to improved behavioral outcomes, with a marked decrease in neurological deficits and motor impairment.” This is according to the authors of the report, who are researchers at Australia’s University of Queensland and Monash University.
Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments
Feb, Tue 20 - 07:02 CET