Stroke is a deadly ailment that claims many lives every year. In addition, stroke can leave many survivors with disabilities. Hence, it is a significant concern for many doctors. Moreover, the unavailability of any lifesaving drugs adds salt to the injury. However, our search for a cure leads us to some unexpected places. One such place is in the fangs of a funnel-web spider. Researchers have speculated over the use of venom as a drug that can halt the devastating aftermath of a stroke.
Why Is Stroke So Dangerous?
A stroke occurs when blood clots inside the brain’s blood vessels. As a result, brain tissue experiences a shortage of oxygen, and this is where everything goes haywire—the lack of oxygen results in the death of brain tissues. Moreover, this neuronal death is irreversible. Hence, after a stroke, the patient faces severe consequences in the form of brain damage or death.
Why Is Venom So Special?
Do you know what makes venom so potent? It is precise and accurate. That is, venom mainly targets a substance, and it does not harm anything else. Primarily, venom exquisitely targets ion channels.
What Are Ion Channels?
Ion channels are small gates located on the cell membrane. These channels control the passage of ions in and out of the cell. It helps the cell to maintain a required concentration of ions in the environment. Hence, on the arrival of particular stimuli, these channels drift ajar, allowing the movement of ions down a chemical or an electric gradient. Therefore, as you might have guessed, the ion channel plays a vital role in propagating chemical and electrical impulses.
Our body comprises a diverse set of ion channels, with each channel entrusted with an important job. Similarly, our brain has an equal share of ion channels. One such channel is known as ASIC1a: an acid-sensing channel. This channel is primarily responsible for the death of neurons after a stroke.
How Does Spider Venom Come Into The Picture?
The venom known as Hi1a has been shown to display neuroprotective behavior in the mice it was tested on. The venom partially disabled the channel but in a reversible way. Hence, during a stroke outrage, the application of this venom inhibits the channel. The channel resumes its function once the storm has calmed down.
Therefore, Hi 1a was able to stop most of the damage when administered eight hours after the stroke. Moreover, when administered under 4 hours, it protected the brain from 90% of the damage.
Hi 1a is a promising drug so far, but it will take time to break into the commercial market. Hence, until then the only way to protect yourself from stroke is to prevent it altogether. Therefore, you can do that by taking good care of your heart when especially suffering from AFib. This is because AFib can substantially increase the occurrence of a stroke. Hence, you should never take AFib lightly. Visit Atrial Fibrillation Center for assistance. You can also call us 832-478-5067 at for more inquiries.