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Decoded: How chikungunya virus causes arthritis pain

IANS  |  New York 

Scientists have identified the molecular handle that grabs to get inside cells and cause pain, a finding that could lead to ways to prevent or treat the as well as related viruses.

The study, conducted over mice, identified the protein on cells called Mxra8 that is needed for to invade both human and mouse cells.

The uses Mxra8 protein as a handle to open a door into cells.

The handle, or receptor, is located on cells that build cartilage, muscle and bone. Joints are filled with such cells, which helps explain patients' painful symptoms.

By creating decoy handles, the researchers showed that they could prevent the virus from grabbing that handle and thus reduce and signs of

"The name chikungunya comes from the Makonde language of Tanzania, and it means 'to walk bent over.' That's how painful the can be," said Michael S. Diamond, at the in St. Louis, US.

"We now know how chikungunya gets into cells, and we may have found a way to block the If the virus cannot get into the cell, it is unable to replicate and cause and disease," Diamond added.

In the study, published in the journal Nature, the team deluged the virus with decoy handles, so that chikungunya would grab the decoy and be locked out of cells.

A day after infection, the level of virus in the mice's ankles and calf muscles was between ten-fold and a hundred-fold lower in the animals that had been treated with Mxra8 proteins or blocking than those that received placebo, and the numbers remained lower over the next two days.

In addition, three days after treatment, the mice that had received the protein exhibited much less swelling in their ankles than those that received the placebo.

The results suggest that a compound that blocks the virus from attaching to Mxra8 on the surface of cells could prevent or reduce arthritis.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 18 2018. 15:06 IST
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