Ion channels rapidly move charges in/out of cells to trigger sensations.

Ion channels rapidly move charges in/out of cells to trigger sensations..including pain. Anesthetics work because they target ion channels. The news article below links chronic pain sensing (nociception) to one type of channel (hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated potassium channel isoform 2, mercifully abbreviated to HCN2). Truth in advertising: you should know that this is only one of many such ion channels. ..here is an old link to an interesting story about people who have a mutation in a type of sodium channel and can no longer feel pain..they can walk on coals, for example. Sadly, this is not a good thing..the young boy in the article died early from risky behavior.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2006/dec/14/health.pakistan

Originally shared by ****

For the first time in human history…a major scientific breakthrough promises to provide relief for the millions who suffer from chronic pain

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5 Responses to Ion channels rapidly move charges in/out of cells to trigger sensations.


  1. I have two questions : do the sanyasin in India know ways of regulating these channels? I also wonder if its possible to induce pain if you know how you feel pain, colic pain for instance.

  2. Rajini Rao says:


    Sure, these channels are regulated and can be stimulated/inhibited, offering ways of manipulating pain. We don’t know at a molecular/genetic level why some people tolerate pain and deprivation better, and it’s bound to be complex. I do think that within a generation or two, we could have complete genomes sequenced for all individuals and the computing power to decipher the basis of their differences. We should be able to map traits faster and more accurately than we do now.


    Re. your second question…do you mean gastric colic? That’s likely to have some dietary origins..or stress.

  3. Matt Kuenzel says:


    I wonder if we could find the genetic causes of traits like this if every individual were genotyped at 500,000 or one million locations like Decode and 23andMe are offering now.

  4. Rajini Rao says:


    Matt, I had not realized that commercial genotyping is practically mainstream. All I can say is, wow. This is going to happen faster than a generation or two.

  5. Matt Kuenzel says:


    I have been thinking about getting my genotype from from 23andMe. It costs $99 (plus $108 for a subscription to their newsletter). The report includes all these traits (https://www.23andme.com/health/all/) plus the 500,000 snps. I’ve already had kids so it’s too late for me to freak out about anything at this point!

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