AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

The Black Mamba an Ally?

As the fangs pierce the skin, passing through the epidermis and into the dermis, you  may notice a feeble prick. Then, you will experience a numbness, similar to the one you get with pins and needles, and it will begin spread throughout your appendages. Within minutes your central nervous system will begin to shut down, leaving you without any hope of survival.  Within a half hour, your body will be overcome by convulsions, paralysis, and eventually you will meet your end by suffocation.

The Black Mamba, due to an assortment of different elements, including its aggressive behavior and its lethal venom, is possibly the deadliest species of snake on the planet. Untreated bites have a mortality rate of 100%. That, to me, is pretty convincing evidence.Recently, scientists have discovered “pain-relieving” compounds, known as peptides, within the venomous cocktail of the Black Mamba. The researchwas led by Sylvie Diochot, of the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at Nice University. She and her team, purified the peptides from the snake’s venom and profiled the compounds’ structure. These peptides are called mambalgins. The researchers were able to test the mambalgins on different strains of mice. The team of researchers concluded that the mambalgins work by blocking, or inhibiting, the ASICs, a set of neurological ion channels associated with pain signaling, in either the central or peripheral neurons. They also discovered that the mambalgins are not toxic, and can have the same, strong effect as morphine. Even better, mambalgins cause a significantly less amount of tolerance than morphine, and generate no risk of respiratory distress and other side effects that are prevalent with “pain-relieving” drugs.The discovery of these mambalgins may prove to be an enormous medical breakthrough. Due to the venom of perhaps the world’s most deadly snake, the insufferable pain of many human beings may be be abolished indefinitely.



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  1. henroids

    According to another painkiller was developed from venom. Ziconotide, a synthetic molecule that replicates a protein found in the venom of the
    sea-dwelling cone snail, is used today as a pain killer. But like ziconotide, the painkiller from the venom of the black mamba may need to be injected into the spine or elsewhere to have best effect. This means that this new painkiller, as of right now, won’t be replacing our methods of migraine, and other common pain treatment anytime soon.

  2. inewitt

    In addition to the many harmful side effects of morphine that sayrest4 pointed out, morphine is also highly addictive. Hopefully these mambalgins are a less addictive substance than morphine, as that is another factor that could significantly increase its success.

  3. jk1234

    Venom is becoming popular in medicinal research. The black mamba venom is now being researched for its pain killing and there is also a spider (Agelenopsis aperta) whose venom is being used for hypertension, epilepsy, and congenital heart failure!

  4. sayrest4

    If these findings are true, then it could lead to the improvement of many lives. Currently morphine is one of the most common painkillers, but it has many harmful side effects such as addiction, weakness, nausea and seizures. If the mambalgins don’t have any of these side effects, it would lead to much happier, healthier people. Hopefully this is the case.

  5. biorob

    It is very interesting that researchers may be able to find a pain relieving drug in the venom of a black mamba. I found that the black mamba releases about 100-120 mg of venom in each bite. What percent of the quantity contains mambalgins? And how much of that is needed to act as a pain reliever? I think that this is a great idea and hopefully we will be able to see that researchers are able to reproduce this pain relieving drugs!


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