The ability to feel pain is a blessing and a curse for humans. The blessing is that experiencing pain can help us identify the cause of the pain and aid us toward such instances off. The flipside, of course, is the pain itself! Pain also indicates that your brain is properly sending signals to parts of the body that need protection.
A specific type of response to triggers such as cutting onions or eating hot peppers -which are also identified as pains by scientists- is the flowing of the nose, flood of tears and the numbness of the tongue. This sinus attack is caused when the chemical-sensing protein, the “Wasabi Receptor” is targeted by a sulfur chemical compound found in onions called syn-Propanethial S-oxide and in peppers, this compound is Capsaicinoids.
Researchers at the University of California and the University of Queensland have identified a toxin found in the poison of the Australian Black Rock scorpion that triggers the “Wasabi Receptor”, also known as TRPA 1, through a mechanism that was previously unidentified. They expanded on this pain trigger mechanism; which they claim can be used to scrutinize the grassroots levels of the workings of pain in the human body. Researchers also claim that the pathway this toxin activates can be mirrored through scientific procedures to bring about the treatment of chronic pain in patients. This discovery will also help scientists come up with non-opioid drugs – basically non-addictive drugs – to help people suffering from various chronic pains.
What Is Wasabi Receptor TRPA 1?
The TRPA 1 runs as a ‘receptor-operated’ channel that is directly affected by inflammatory agents and is generally found in the sensory nerve endings and/or throughout the bodies of nearly all kinds of living beings. The scorpion toxin, also known as the “Wasabi Receptor Toxin” (WaTx) can activate only the TRPA 1 found in mammals which causes pain in the area of the body where it hits. However, it was then observed that this is done to ward off the class because scorpions do not feed on mammals.
The way that WaTx works, although similar in some ways, is profoundly discreet from the way normal triggers work on the human body. Take the process of cigarette smoke for instance. When a human being is exposed to smoke, active elements called ‘reactive electrophiles’ enter into the body through breathing orifices such as the nose and the mouth. This triggers the TRPA 1 that is found in the lining cells of the airway tract of the body activating reflex coughs and the inflammation of the airway. The same is the response of the human body when exposed to items like onions, ginger, garlic, and wasabi.
How Does It Work?
According to John Lin King, head of the study and student at the University of California, TRPA 1 plays the role of