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Fanged fish venom like heroin offers new hope for painkillers

April 1, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Fanged fish venom like heroin offers new hope for painkillers

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Fang Blennies are little, tropical fish with huge, terrifying teeth that release a toxic and drug-like venom.

The timid creature’s toxin is a shockingly potent cocktail filled with properties that mimic heroin or morphine, a new study published in Current Biology revealed.

If a predator tried to eat one of the fish, they would experience sudden dizziness, which would cause them to either spit it out or make their jaws relax so much that the blenny could swim out. The latest investigation found that the fang blennies shoot out the venom from their huge bottom fangs, unlike most poisonous fish, which shoot out toxins through fins.

When the study’s researchers injected lab mice with the venom, the mice did not experience pain, and their blood pressure dropped by 40%, the New York Times reported.

“For the fang blenny venom to be painless in mice was a surprise,” Bryan Fry, one of the study’s authors. “Fish with venomous dorsal spines produce immediate and blinding pain.”

Their venom, which is comprised of opioid peptides and elements detected in the venom of cone snails and scorpions, is the only one of its kind to be found in nature.

The unusual makeup of the substance could be used to produce new painkillers for humans.

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