POISON MY HEART
A spider bite could save your life, a Brief Communication this week suggests.
Frederick Sachs of the State University of New York, Buffalo, and colleagues report that a peptide isolated from the venom of the tarantula spider (Grammostola spatulata) can stop a chaotic disruption of the heart’s natural rhythm, or ‘atrial fibrillation’, induced here in rabbit hearts (Nature, Vol. 409, No. 6816, 04 Jan 2001). Atrial fibrillation is a common complication of heart conditions in humans and causes around 15% of strokes.
The small peptide known as GsMtx-4 blocks certain stretch-activated ion channels — cardiac-cell gateways that control access of vital ions. This discovery will help researchers understand how a steady heartbeat can be knocked for six.
The findings also "point the way towards developing a new class of drugs" directed against the cause rather than the symptoms of the condition, the researchers say.
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
Bookmark and Share this page (what is this?)
Social bookmarking allows users to save and categorise a personal collection of bookmarks and share them with others. This is different to using your own browser bookmarks which are available using the menus within your web browser.
Use the links below to share this article on the social bookmarking site of your choice.
Read more about social bookmarking at Wikipedia - Social Bookmarking