Israeli scientists have discovered an enzyme that might help protect soldiers against the effects of the deadly nerve agent sarin.
A three-year study, funded by the US Army, was conducted by the Israeli firm Braintact to evaluate the effectiveness of the enzyme known as "GOT" in protecting animals against cognitive and coordination problems resulting from exposure to the organophosphorus nerve agent.
The research follows earlier unpublished work with rats that showed that the enzyme successfully protected the animals against neurological problems caused by exposure to paraoxon, a model compound for nerve agents such as sarin, soman and VX.
The Israeli researchers said that GOT's ability to protect against neurological damage is due to its capability of binding to, and chemically inactivating a chemical called glutamate.
In healthy individuals, glutamate's role is as a neurotransmitter. But when cells are exposed to nerve agents or are damaged as a result of other forms of brain injury, including stroke or disease - the cells release far more glutamate than normal, over-exciting and killing nearby nerve cells.
The study is detailed in the current issue of the magazine Chemistry & Industry.
Last Mod: 31 Temmuz 2007, 15:29