Grasshopper mouse vs scorpion: mouse feels no pain
Scientists from the Michigan State University have discovered that grasshopper mice feel no pain when they are stung by scorpions. While scorpion venom is lethal to most mammals, grasshopper mice, native to the southwestern United States, are able to turn the toxin into an analgesic that actually numbs pain. The study, titled "Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel in Grasshopper Mice Defends Against Bark Scorpion Toxin," was published in the journal Science.
According to Michigan State University assistant professor of neuroscience and zoology, Ashlee Rowe, "This venom kills other mammals of similar size. The grasshopper mouse has developed the evolutionary equivalent of martial arts to use the scorpions' greatest strength against them."
Rowe's researchers injected both toxins extracted from scorpions and a non-toxic saline solution into mice's paws and found that the rodent actually reacted much more strongly to the solution. This is when Rowe and Harold Zakon, professor of neuroscience at The University of Texas at Austin, discovered that scorpion toxin binds to sodium channels in the mouse's pain neurons, which blocks them from firing off a pain signal to the brain.
However, this does not explain why the venom doesn't kill the grasshopper mouse, which is something scientists are still researching.
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