It may sound strange, but researchers say venom extracted from a particular type of snail may provide a solution to individuals with insomnia.
In a research paper published in the Toxicon medical journal, scientists said they discovered the sleep-inducing properties of the venom of conus araneosus, while trying to identify various compounds in it. The researchers named the sleep-inducing part of the venom “sandman peptide,” inspired by the mythical character who sprinkles magical sand in people’s eyes to put them to sleep to bring good dreams.
The two scientists dissected venom glands of the marine snails. The venom was then purified and 14 peptides were isolated. These peptides were classified according to the class they belong to. Five of the peptides were then checked for biological effects on mice.
When the pure solution of these five peptides was injected in mice, only one showed activity. Within just four minutes of injecting, the peptide called ‘ar3J’ put the mice to sleep for two hours. When the dosage was doubled, the mice slept for five hours.
The results of the discovery could eventually lead to new drug-based therapies for sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea.
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