Friday, September 19, 2008

Bee Venom May Help Treat Hypertension

Penn Researchers Use Honeybee Venom to Develop a New Tool for Studying Hypertension
Potassium channels can be studied with a specific inhibitor modeled on honeybee venom

PHILADELPHIA - Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have modified honeybee venom so that it can be used as a tool to study the inner workings of ion channels that control heart rate and the recycling of salt in kidneys. In general, ion channels selectively allow the passage of small ions such as sodium, potassium, or calcium into and out of the cell.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is from the laboratory of Zhe Lu, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Physiology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, who researched the action of the natural bee toxin on inward-rectifier potassium channels, Kir channels for short, to identify new approaches to treat cardiovascular disease…

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