'Painkiller' gene turned off in mice


We experience chilli peppers as hot because they activate an enzyme called c-Kit. It now seems that getting rid of c-Kit increases pain tolerance in mice, while stimulating it lowers the level at which heat becomes painful. This could lead to the development of a new class of painkillers that work by blocking the enzyme. The skin contains more than a million “nociceptors”, or bare nerve endings, around half of which fire in response to pain. Gary Lewin and colleagues at the Max Delbrück Centre for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany,
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