The Magic in Fire Ant Venom and how it can be used to treat psoriasis...
When you think fire ants, you think ouch, rightfully so. But, their venom may have more to offer than just irritating pain.
Emory University's researchers say this Ant's venom could be treatment for Psoriasis. According to the Mayo clinic, Psoriasis which affects approximately 6 million people in the US, is an autoimmune skin disease with symptoms such as:
- Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales
- Small scaling spots (commonly seen in children)
- Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
- Itching, burning or soreness
- Thickened, pitted or ridged nails
- Swollen and stiff joints
Plaque psoriasis (marked by the thick scales) is the most prevalent form of this disease. Its symptoms can affect any part of the body from inside the mouth to genitals
During a study using mice, researchers isolated the toxic compound of fire ant venom, solenopsins, to formulate a treatment that will reduce inflammation and prevent thickening of the skin. The outcome was positive, so now this new medicine can possibly be substituted for the current treatment (topical steroid) used on people.
Steroid use, as Emory's researcher explained, has side effects "like thinning the skin too much and making it bruise easily. But the mice that were treated with the new mixture, whose active ingredient works similarly to a solenopsin, saw their skin thickness decrease by about a third and had only about half as many immune cells “infiltrating the skin,” thus reducing inflammation.
Creams containing the solenopsins treatment helps in full reconstruction of the skin's barrier function, whereas other types of skin creams are insufficient, though, they may soothe affected areas.