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 July 22, 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 July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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