Snail offers clue to how anesthetics work

Jul 20, 2007

A group of London researchers learned additional details concerning how anesthetics work on the human body by analyzing a snail's nervous system.

The study, headed by Imperial College London biophysics Professor Nick Franks, found a molecular feature in the snail's nervous system that is identical to one in the human brain, The Daily Mail said Friday.

While scientists thought the brain's potassium channel played a key role in regards to anesthetics, the theory couldn't be tested until Franks' team cloned a giant pond snail's potassium channel and created chimeric channels to identify a specific amino acid.

By studying that amino acid, the group was able to identify how an anesthetic binds to the potassium channel and limits the amount of neural impulses to the body's neurons.

The British newspaper said the study could ultimately lead to an improved form of anesthetics that have little or no side effects.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Molecular link found between high glucose, metabolic disease

Related Stories

Mozilla says HTTPS is the way forward for the Web

4 minutes ago

The web developer community can hear a rallying cry loud and clear :Let's hear it for web security. Mozilla, the group behind the browser Firefox, is turning up the volume by saying enough's enough with non-secure ...

Researchers shine light on origin of bioluminescence

53 minutes ago

In the mountains of Virginia, millipedes have bright yellow and black colors to warn enemies that they are toxic and not worth eating. Their cousins in California convey this warning in a very different way—by ...

Recommended for you

How proteins evolved the capacity for movement within cells

10 hours ago

The process behind how the molecular components of living organisms start to move has been explained for the first time in new research published by Science and it is an intricate set of dance steps where the tempo is set ...

How do neural cells respond to ischemia?

11 hours ago

A group of researchers from the Lomonosov Moscow State University, in collaboration with their Irish colleagues from the University College Cork, has studied the early response of cells to ischemia, which ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.