NEW YORK: An active ingredient in peppers has opened the door for targeted pain relief and could especially be helpful during child birth and dental procedures, researchers say.
It could prove useful for situations where patients require anaesthetic, but also need to be able to move or control muscles, such as in childbirth and in some dental procedures where blocking some nerves can lead to unhelpful drooling, it adds, a report in Nature magazine suggests.
Bruce Bean of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, and his colleagues, the report says, targeted the pain by taking advantage of an ion channel called TRPV1, which is only present in pain-sensing nerve cells. This channel opens when it senses capsaicin, the active ingredient in chilli peppers.
Working on cultures of neurons, the report says, the researchers used capsaicin to open the ion channel, allowing their painkiller of choice – a local anaesthetic called QX-314 – to enter the cell.
QX-314 is similar to the commonly-used local anaesthetic lidocaine, but, unlike lidocaine, it has no effect unless it is acting from within a cell, it adds.
The team found that capsaicin did indeed allow the anaesthetic to only enter pain-sensing neurons, where it could then dampen the action of these cells.
Source:The Times Of India