Can Scorpio Poison Be Used To Cure Arthritis?
Researchers have now discovered a surprising source for the possible relief from rheumatoid arthritis. A scorpion's poison reduces the severity of the disease without causing unpleasant side effects.
The Baylor College of Medicine scientists found that scorpion venom reduces rheumatoid arthritis in rats without inducing side effects like other treatments. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics".
Basis for new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis?
One of hundreds of components in the poison, which scorpions normally use to kill prey, shows great potential for treating diseases, explains study author Professor Christine Beeton from Baylor College of Medicine. However, more research needs to be done before the poison can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. However, the doctor expressed optimism that the poison used could eventually be used as the basis for a new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a so-called autoimmune disease that affects more than 1.3 million people in the United States alone, the researchers say. Such a chronic inflammatory disease, which can affect more than just the joints, occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissue. There is currently no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. The disease causes severe pain and causes an inability to move the joints. However, various forms of treatment reduce inflammation, relieve pain and prevent damage to joints and organs, the doctors explain.
What are fibroblast-like synoviocytes?
The experts' research targeted specific cells called fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS). These secrete products that damage the joints and attract immune cells, which cause inflammation and pain during the transition from joint to joint. The scientists had previously identified a channel on the cells, which is a kind of Achilles' heel. This channel acts as an access that enables the cells to perform many of their essential functions.
Iberiotoxin stopped the progression of rheumatoid arthritis
The researchers found that iberiotoxin, a component of scorpion venom, effectively blocks the channel in rats. Iberiotoxin stopped the progression of the disease in 90 percent of the rats treated with the first signs of symptoms. It also reduced the severity of the disease in those treated only after symptoms peaked, doctors say. Iberiotoxin did not cause side effects such as tremors and incontinence, which have often been observed with treatment with another channel blocker in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Isolating iberiotoxin was very important
The key to using scorpion poison as a drug was isolating iberiotoxin, says Professor Christine Beeton. According to the researchers' warning, sick people should not undertake self-experiments with scorpion poison, as this would be very dangerous and certainly painful. (as)