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 October 2, 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 October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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