Green mamba venom could treat kidney disease

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  • Researchers gave a peptide in the venom to mice with polycyctic kidney disease
  • The disease causes fluid-filled cysts to develop which can damage the kidneys 
  • The results revealed that the area made up of cysts was reduced by 47 per cent 
  • Current drugs to treat the disease can lead to side effects such as liver damage   
  • But this new discovery could lead to improved therapies to treat PKD in humans

Cecile Borkhataria For Dailymail.com

A peptide in green mamba venom can reduce the severity of polycystic kidney disease (PKD), researchers have found. 

The disease causes fluid-filled cysts to develop, which can damage the kidneys and lead to renal failure. 

But when researchers tested the green mamba peptide in mice with the disease, cysts were lessened by 47 per cent – a discovery which could lead to a new therapy to treat PKD in humans.

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he green mamba is a snake that ranges southward from Tanzania to eastern Zimbabwe and coastal Natal in southern Africa - and its venom can be fatal in cases of severe envenomation

he green mamba is a snake that ranges southward from Tanzania to eastern Zimbabwe and coastal Natal in southern Africa - and its venom can be fatal in cases of severe envenomation

he green mamba is a snake that ranges southward from Tanzania to eastern Zimbabwe and coastal Natal in southern Africa – and its venom can be fatal in cases of severe envenomation

PKD is a genetic disorders that causes kidney problems due to the formation of fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys. 

The disease is incurable and is treated with drugs called vasopressin antagonists

These drugs block the receptors that cause the cysts, but they also lead to negative side effects such as liver damage. 

In an effort to find new drug options to treat PKD, the researchers studied the venom from the poisonous green mamba snake. 

The green mamba is a snake that ranges southward from Tanzania to eastern Zimbabwe and coastal Natal in southern Africa – and its venom can be fatal in cases of severe envenomation. 

The researchers chose to study snake venom because it tends to work by causing neural problems, some of which involve cell receptors which – and so the venom could disrupt the receptors that produce cysts in people with PKD. 

For the study, the researchers isolated a peptide called mambaquaretin-1, which was known to block cell receptors.

They gave it to six mice which were genetically engineered to have PKD over a period of 99 days. 

WHAT IS POLYCYSTIC KIDNEY DISEASE?  

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is a genetic disorder that cause fluid-filled cysts to develop, which can damage the kidneys and lead to renal failure. 

It’s the most frequently inherited kidney disorder and affects nearly 600,000 Americans and as many as 12 million people worldwide. 

 

As the disease progresses, PKD can cause the kidneys to become enlarged and can weigh over 30 pounds (13.5 kilograms) and be as large as a football 

As the disease progresses, PKD can cause the kidneys to become enlarged and can weigh over 30 pounds (13.5 kilograms) and be as large as a football 

As the disease progresses, PKD can cause the kidneys to become enlarged and can weigh over 30 pounds (13.5 kilograms) and be as large as a football 

The disease is incurable and is treated with drugs called vasopressin antagonists

These drugs block the receptors that cause the cysts, but they also lead to negative side effects such as liver damage.

Source: The University of Kansas 

A control group of mice were given salt water instead of the peptide.  

The mice were monitored to see if they suffered any negative effects from the peptide, and to see if it had any positive effects on their kidney cysts. 

The results of the study revealed that all the mice given the peptide had improved kidney function and no side effects. 

The researchers also found that the number of cysts in the mice’s kidneys reduced by a third, and the total kidney area made up of cysts was reduced by 47 per cent. 

Analysis suggests that the peptide achieved this by blocking vasopressin receptors, just like current vasopressin antagonist drugs are meant to. 

While the researchers say that more research needs to be conducted to see if the green mamba peptide is safe for use in humans and leads to the same benefits, the researchers are optimistic. 

They also plan to research using the peptide to treat other ailments.  

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