Novel study discovered a toxin in anthrax that can particularly target and stop activity in pain-signalling neurons in the brain
A team of scientists at Harvard Medical School discovered a toxin in anthrax bacterium that can stop the activities in pain-signaling brain neurons. According to the research, it could be used as therapeutic solution for the treatment of pain management. The toxins released by anthrax consist many molecules. Each of these protein is non-toxic, however, it can be fatal.
In this new study, the scientists investigated the effects of these anthrax toxins on neurons in the brain. The team found particular pain-sensing neurons in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) carried receptors to bind to anthrax toxins. The two type of anthrax toxins, lethal toxin and lethal toxin. Both the toxins have a common protein called as protective antigen (PA). The study showed how the edema toxin targeted and stopped pain-signalin neurons in the DRG. The researchers injected these two proteins, protective antigen (PA) and edema factor (EF) into the spine of the mice, after which the team found that these proteins homed in on particular neurons in the brain and hindered the pain sensations. As these anthrax proteins accurately target the specific neurons, the scientists used them as new carrier system, and found the hidden boulinum toxin, which is known to reduce pain signaling in anthrax protein delivery system.
The scientists pointed that the research requires a lot more work to bring it into clinical practice. The scientists are assertive about the effects of this toxin on the pain-signalling brain neurons. According to the team, delivering this edema toxin in the brain via spine, can prevent the potential toxicity problems in the entire body. However, more study is required to understand the effects of this toxins on the brain in detail.