Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pathways of pain-blocking medications modeled by computer

Date:
October 3, 2011
Source:
American Institute of Physics
Summary:
Although local anesthetics are commonly used, in many cases scientists still don't understand the finer points of how the drugs act on cell membranes. A new computer model may help by showing how readily cell membranes made up of different compounds absorb anesthetics.

Although local anesthetics are commonly used, in many cases scientists still don't understand the finer points of how the drugs act on cell membranes. A new computer model may help by showing how readily cell membranes made up of different compounds absorb anesthetics.

Benzocaine, a commonly used local anesthetic, may more easily wiggle into a cell's membrane when the membrane is made up of compounds that carry a negative charge, a new study shows. The finding could help scientists piece together a more complete understanding of the molecular-level mechanisms behind pain-blocking medicines, possibly leading to their safer and more effective use.

Most scientists believe that local anesthetics prevent pain signals from propagating to the central nervous system by blocking nerve cells' sodium channels, but exactly how the medicines accomplish this feat remains vague. Since the solubility of anesthetics in the cell membrane can affect the medicine's potency, some scientists have hypothesized that certain anesthetics may block the action of sodium channels indirectly, by entering the cell membrane and jostling the channels into a new shape that prevents ion flow.

With the aim of further investigating such complex processes, scientists from the Universidad Politecnica de Cartagena in Spain and the Universidad Nacional de San Luis in Argentina have created a computer model that calculates the probability of molecules of benzocaine entering a cell's membrane, based on the composition of the membrane.

As reported in the AIP's Journal of Chemical Physics, the model predicts that membranes made of a large percentage of DPPS, a negatively charged phospholipid component of cells, present less of a barrier to benzocaine molecules than membranes made mostly of DPPC, a neutral phospholipid. DPPS is normally found as one of the main components of cell membranes in the central nervous system, as well as a component of the inner side of membranes in other humans cells.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. J. J. Lopez Cascales, S. D. Oliveira Costa, R. D. Porasso. Thermodynamic study of benzocaine insertion into different lipid bilayers. Journal of Chemical Physics, 2011; (accepted)

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics. "Pathways of pain-blocking medications modeled by computer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926104622.htm>.
American Institute of Physics. (2011, October 3). Pathways of pain-blocking medications modeled by computer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926104622.htm
American Institute of Physics. "Pathways of pain-blocking medications modeled by computer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926104622.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
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