WebMD Health News
Louise Chang, MD
Sept. 24, 2009 -- The venom of a Brazilian spider may inspire new drugs to
treat erectile dysfunction.
Researchers reported that news in Chicago at the American Heart
Association's 63rd High Blood Pressure Research Conference.
The spider is the Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria
nigriventer). Bites from that spider are intensely painful and "can cause
priapism, a potentially harmful and painful erection that can last for many
hours and lead to impotence," states an American Heart Association news
Researchers from Brazil and the Medical College of Georgia purified a toxin
from that spider's venom and tested it in rats and mice.
The researchers found that the toxin causes a chemical chain reaction that
sets the stage for better blood flow in penile tissue -- and that could help
"This toxin could be important for development of new agents for treatment
of ED," write the researchers, who included Kenia Nunes, PhD, of the Medical
College of Georgia in Augusta.
SOURCES:American Heart Association's 63rd High Blood Pressure Research Conference,
Chicago, Sept. 23-26, 2009.News release, American Heart Association.
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