Hypertension is a condition that most of the people suffer due to the hectic lifestyle. To find a solution to this condition, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have employed a very strange element from nature. And it happens to be the honeybee venom toxin!
Reports say that researchers modified the toxin to use it as a tool to understand the inner workings of the channels in our body that regulate the flow of sodium, potassium and calcium in and out of the cells and their effect on heart.
Honeybee’s venom toxin is known to stop the flow of potassium to the heart by blocking what is called as the Kir channels in the kidney, on the outside of the cells. The Kir channels have been the target for treatment in hypertension.
“The clue comes from patients with genetic defects in these channels who lose a lot of sodium because it cannot be effectively reabsorbed and thus have low blood pressure,” noted Zhe Lu, M.D, Ph.D., Professor of Physiology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. “An inhibitor specifically against these kidney channels will allow this idea to be tested.”
Through this study the researchers aim to test the plugging out of salts like potassium to the heart as a way to reduce hypertension.
The detailed study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.