Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chloroform Provides Clue To 150 Year Old Medical Puzzle

Date:
April 2, 2008
Source:
University of Leeds
Summary:
One of the earliest general anesthetics to be used by the medical profession, chloroform, has shed light on a mystery that's puzzled doctors for more than 150 years -- how such anesthetics actually work.

One of the earliest general anaesthetics to be used by the medical profession, chloroform, has shed light on a mystery that's puzzled doctors for more than 150 years -- how such anaesthetics actually work.

A discovery described as "true serendipity" made by Leeds University PhD student Dr Yahya Bahnasi, has provided a clue that may unravel the enigma of general anaesthesia -- and offer the opportunity to design new generations of anaesthetics without harmful side effects.

"We take general anaesthesia for granted nowadays, but it's still true to say that we don't know exactly how it works on a molecular level," says Dr Bahnasi, a qualified medical doctor on an Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education Scholarship at the University's Faculty of Biological Sciences.

"However, I was examining the relationship between lipids and atherosclerosis [the furring up of arteries] and it just so happened that the lipids I was using were supplied already dissolved in chloroform. I noticed that the chloroform inhibited, or blocked, the calcium ion channel TRPC5 -- it was quite a striking effect."

Ion channels are pathways that allow electrically charged atoms to pass across cell membranes to carry out various functions such as pain transmission and the timing of the heart beat. TRPC5 calcium ion channels are found in many tissues around the body but are predominant in the brain.

"We know that this ion channel plays a signalling role in the central nervous system, which regulates the conscious and unconscious states, so I was left wondering whether inhibiting this calcium ion channel was one mechanism by which anaesthesia works," says Dr Bahnasi.

Dr Bahnasi then carried out further experiments with several other modern anaesthetic compounds, both intravenous and inhaled, and found that the blocking effect on the TRPC5 ion channel was the same.

He says that the discovery opens up the opportunity to design and develop new generations of anaesthetics which directly target TRPC5, but with minimised side effects.

"Of course there are multi-molecular events that work together in anaesthesia, and inhibiting the TRPC5 ion channel may just be one of them. But it's a great start in piecing together the underlying mechanisms and providing a novel molecular target for new drug design," he says. "And it's particularly fitting that this evidence was revealed by chloroform, the 'grandfather' of modern anaesthetics."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leeds. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leeds. "Chloroform Provides Clue To 150 Year Old Medical Puzzle." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080331110104.htm>.
University of Leeds. (2008, April 2). Chloroform Provides Clue To 150 Year Old Medical Puzzle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080331110104.htm
University of Leeds. "Chloroform Provides Clue To 150 Year Old Medical Puzzle." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080331110104.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins