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Papers of the Week

Papers: 1 Apr 2023 - 7 Apr 2023


Molecular/Cellular, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2023 Mar 28

Curr Protein Pept Sci


Ion Channels-related Neuroprotection and Analgesia Mediated by Spider Venom Peptides.


Caroline Nogueira Souza A, Scardua Binda N, Yuri Almeida H, de Castro Júnior CJ, Vinicius Gomez M, Mara Ribeiro F, Figueira Da Silva J


Ion channels play critical roles in generating and propagating action potentials and in neurotransmitter release at a subset of excitatory and inhibitory synapses. Dysfunction of these channels has been linked to various health conditions, such as neurodegenerative diseases and chronic pain. Neurodegeneration is one of the underlying causes of a range of neurological pathologies, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), cerebral ischemia, brain injury, and retinal ischemia. Pain is a symptom that can serve as an index of the severity and activity of a disease condition, a prognostic indicator, and a criterion of treatment efficacy. Neurological disorders and pain are conditions that undeniably impact a patient’s survival, health, and quality of life, with possible financial consequences. Venoms are the best-known natural source of ion channel modulators. Venom peptides are increasingly recognized as potential therapeutic tools due to their high selectivity and potency gained through millions of years of evolutionary selection pressure. Spiders have been evolving complex and diverse repertoires of peptides in their venoms with vast pharmacological activities for more than 300 million years. These include peptides that potently and selectively modulate a range of targets, such as enzymes, receptors, and ion channels. Thus, components of spider venoms hold considerable capacity as drug candidates for alleviating or reducing neurodegeneration and pain. This review aims to summarize what is known about spider toxins acting upon ion channels, providing neuroprotective and analgesic effects.