One of the most deadly poisons in the world is consideredtetrodotoxin, which is found in especially large quantities in the fugu fish, the calf of the California newt and a number of other animals. As a rule, death in the poisoning of this poison is due to paralysis of the respiratory muscles, but scientists believe that with proper dosing, it can serve as an excellent analgesic with a long lasting effect. It seems that in the future an anesthetic based on fugu poison will actually appear - researchers from the Boston Children's Hospital have figured out how to control its dose so that it does not cause any harm.
Previously, medical professionals have triedapply fugu poison to eliminate severe pains with leprosy and inoperable tumor diseases. They did manage to establish safe doses of the toxin so that it effectively eliminated pain and did not harm the patient’s body, but due to the potential danger and the presence of analogues in the form of novocaine, its use was suspended.
Despite this, work on the creation of anestheticbased on tetrodotoxin does not stop. The fugu poison is interesting in that its molecules effectively clog the nerve fibers and block their impulses - scientists can easily create a technology that controls its quantity and provides a safe anesthetic effect lasting several days.
Tetrodotoxin was converted to anesthetic
A big breakthrough in this business was madestaff from the Boston Children's Hospital, headed by Professor Daniel Kohane. In order to control the rate of release of poison at a certain point in the body, they mixed it with a biodegradable polymer, and subsequently controlled release time provided a long-term anesthetic effect. The experiment was conducted on laboratory rats.
The lesson we have learned is thatwith our previous delivery systems, the anesthetic substance spread too quickly, which could lead to poisoning. This time we injected such an amount of tetrodotoxin that it would be enough to kill a rat several times, but thanks to a controlled introduction, the animal did not even feel it, ”shared Daniel Kohane.
Even though scientists used quitea large amount of poison, it was still less than in previous attempts. It was possible to preserve the effectiveness of a substance while reducing its dose due to the addition of a chemical enhancer of permeability - tetrodotoxin penetrated tissues more easily and acted as concentrated as possible.
Local anesthetics based on poison - almost a reality
The effectiveness of the anesthetic composition wastested only on animals, but testing has given quite encouraging results. The researchers injected the substance into the rat sciatic nerve, and thanks to the polymer and permeability enhancer, its sensitivity was blocked for three whole days. The researchers suggest that in the case of people, the anesthetic effect will persist for a whole week, but before testing the substance in humans it is important for them to check the safety of the method more carefully.
Symptoms of tetrodotoxin poisoning
If, in the event of an error, tetrodotoxin falls intothe human body is too fast, it will immediately lead to poisoning and, most likely, to death. Symptoms occur within 10–15 minutes, and include itching, excessive salivation, vomiting, loss of skin sensitivity and, ultimately, paralysis of the respiratory system.
The first case of tetrodotoxin poisoning wasregistered in 1774 - the case was described in the book “Journey to the South Pole and around the world” by English sailor James Cook. Poisoning occurred in New Caledonia when he and his companions tried a dish of local fish and felt severe weakness and numbness. Fortunately, they received a small dose of toxin and recovered after vomiting, but the pig, which was given the remnants of the dish - died.
Puffer Fish Dish
Fugu fish dishes are still cooked in Japan. However, permission to prepare and sell such dishes can only be obtained after three years of training and obtaining a confirming license. Such measures were created so that the chefs learn how to thoroughly clean the fish from the killer tetrodotoxin - if even the smallest part of the dish remains in the dish, poisoning of restaurant visitors is simply unavoidable.
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