Class blog for sharing and commenting on current events in biology.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Blocking pain receptors extends lifespan, boosts metabolism in mice

Rachel Bothwell
Current event #2                                                                                            

"Blocking Pain Receptors Extends Lifespan, Boosts Metabolism in Mice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 2014. Web. 25 May 2014.

There was a study done at the University of California, in Berkeley, about the fact that blocking the pain receptor in mice not only extends their lifespan, but also provides them with a more beneficial metabolism. The reason that scientists decided to do an experiment on blocking the pain receptors is chronic pain is known to shorten your life, and as you get older pain tends to increase. "Our findings suggest that pharmacological manipulation of TRPV1 and CGRP may improve metabolic health and longevity," said Dillin, who is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Distinguished Chair in Stem Cell Research. TRPBI is a pain receptor and it stands for, transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1. One fact that I learned from this article is, that by constantly activating the pain receptor on a nerve cell, will cause the death of neurons. I also learned that mice lacking the capsaicin pain receptor live around 14 percent longer than normal mice; also they retain a more youthful metabolism as well.

This study is useful to society because it reveals a way that humans can stay healthy. This study is not just useful for relieving pain, but for improving lifespan and metabolic health, and in particular for treating diabetes and obesity. Therefore the article can help prevent people from getting diabetes and obesity. Also, this article mentions an anti-migraine drug that is on the market that inhibits a protein called CGRP,calcitonin gene-related peptide, which blocks insulin release, that is triggered by TRPV1. It results in similar effects to that caused by blocking TRPV1. Dillin revealed that when this drug was given to older mice it restored their metabolic health.

I enjoyed reading this article because it helped educate me on a topic I was not familiar with. I like how in the article they give an example about a food that people eat that has a capsaicin pain receptor, chili peppers. Therefore people can understand where this type of pain receptor can be found. Also, it was helpful that when there were any abbreviations they were explained.  Also, this article was very informative, and I was able to learn a lot. However, I felt that the article was repetitive and confusing at times.


  1. This was a very interesting article. It's crazy what scientists can do these days. Expanding the lifespan, is a very complex subject to handle. But I have one concern about the testing, if they blocked the pain receptors, then does are the nerves supposed to do? Nevertheless it is a very gripping subject to follow. If by blocking the pain receptors on mice expands their lifespan, would it have the same results on human if they continued with their research? I couldn't see a new result because mice and humans are separated by order, plus many other details. One thing that should be changed is the presentation, text being the same font and same color all the way through. It was very thought-provoking article. Thank you for the share.

  2. I found Rachel's review on this article interesting. She did a good job providing evidence from the article. She quoted scientists from stem cell research to help explain what scientists are trying to discover. Rachel also gave a great connection to society. She did not only explain that this research can help expand the life span but it can also help prevent diabetes and obesity. Lastly, Rachel made this easier for the reader to understand. If she ever said a hard vocabulary word she would help explain it. This aspect made the review more enjoyable to read.
    Rachel's review taught me a lot about the pain in animals. I never thought that living through pain until it went away could harm the body. The pain in the body doesn't just deteriorate the body in general it causes the cells to wear out. This makes me wonder if taking pain killers is helping preserve animal's bodies. I also am surprised that this research can help prevent diabetes and obesity. I guess this just goes with the cells not wearing out so they stay "fresh".
    Rachel's review was great to read but improvements could have been made. I think Rachel could have done a better critique on the article. She gave some good compliments but not many criticisms. Overall, I enjoyed reading Rachel's review.

  3. I thought Rachel’s review of this article was excellent. She provided lots of information on the topic of her article and explained the process and effects that the article provided. Her second paragraph was helpful and explained the purpose of this treatment and why it is important very well. I also liked how she chose a topic she did not know a lot about so that she could learn something new from her chosen article. I was quite interested in the experiment itself. I think it’s really cool that scientists are figuring out how to relieve pain and help the metabolic system. I also did not know that chili peppers have the capsaicin pain receptor. I was wondering, would eating a lot of chili peppers help your nervous/metabolic systems? One thing I think Rachel could work on is her criticism section, she could add more to that section. Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed reading this review because I learned something new.

  4. I think that Rachel did a wonderful overall job with her current event report. One aspect I really liked that Rachel incorporated a quote from the medical investigator to let the reader know exactly what the researchers have found and now know. I also really liked how Rachel well explained exactly what blocking the pain receptors actually does. Rachel helped me really understand what the affects of blocking the pain receptors on mice and how it can help medical research on humans. Another aspect of Rachel’s current event report that impressed me was how Rachel discussed what she learned because she highlighted the key points of new information that really stood out. I was really interested by the fact that mice lacking the capsaicin pain receptor live 14% longer than normal mice. I also found it very interesting that blocking the pain receptors not only improve lifespan but also your metabolic health but also helps for treating diabetes and obesity. One thing I think that Rachel could have done better is go more in depth of how this new research is helpful for medical research today and how exactly scientists now can incorporate this into our everyday health care.


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