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 18 November 2017

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News

Snakes and frogs yield chemicals that may treat abnormal GI muscle contractions

A study of snakes and frogs has led to the discovery of a group of human proteins that control the intestinal muscles and might be used to treat disease, according to a report in Molecular Pharmacology.

News image

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Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, USA, have named the proteins 'prokineticins'.

The investigators started by studying snake venom and secretions from the skin of poisonous frogs, in search of toxic substances that caused muscle contractions.

Prokineticins appear to control GI muscle contractions
Molecular Pharmacology

They then screened databases of mammalian chemicals for similar proteins. Tests have shown that the prokineticins can control the muscles of the intestines of guinea pigs but do not affect the muscles of other organs.

Researcher Qun-Yong Zhou said, "By testing the effects of the chemicals on intestinal muscles, we found what we called prokineticins. These proteins appear to control intestinal muscles and could be used to form treatments for diseases caused by abnormal muscle contractions in the gut.

"We found what we believe may result in more effective treatments for a number of digestive diseases and could even help reduce vomiting and other gastrointestinal side-effects of cancer chemotherapy.

"We still need to map out exactly how these proteins work and see if they work the same way in humans before we begin to develop treatments for intestinal disorders."

Report Copyright: Englemed Health News at http://www.internationalmedicalnews.com

Mol Pharmacol 2001; 59 (4): 692-8
20 April 2001

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