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Mice Can Synthesize Their Own Morphine

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posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 02:22 PM

A new study shows that mice — and probably humans — mammals have the onboard capacity to make their own painkillers.

It's unclear why the body does this, or where in the body it takes place, but the research team led by Meinhart Zenk, a biochemist at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, injected a mouse over the course of four days with a chemical called tetrahydropapaveroline, or THP.

The compound is found naturally in human brain cells and is one of the chemicals that is altered to build morphine in plants. Using a supersensitive mass spectrometry instrument that precisely elucidates a molecule's chemical composition, the researchers found that the mouse metabolized most of the THP into several different chemicals including salutaridine. In morphine-producing poppy plants salutaridine is then converted to thebaine, which undergoes further reactions to become morphine. The researchers show that mice can also do that chemical conversion, as well as others needed to generate morphine.


Wow, now we just gotta figure out how to do this when we got a headache or some other kind of injury. Could be our own drug dealers. Try putting drug laws on that!

"Thinks of the possibilities"

posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 03:39 PM
Many animals lack the genes that other animals have to synthesize certain hormones, vitamins, etc.

Most notably is Vitamin C. Humans, and a few other animals, lack the required enzyme to synthesize vitamin c from glucose (which is one argument for why we aren't meant to consume foods that spike blood glucose). The hope is that either gene therapy or megadosing vitamin c (for gene avtivation) will fix this apparent defect.

A side note: Guinea pigs are one of those few animals that lack the enzymes. For that reason, they were perfect candidates as test subjects for scurvy research (1900's and 1910's)....which was the beginning of the term "guinea pig".


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