July 3, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Why do redheads treat pain differently?

Les roux représentent seulement entre 1 et 2 % de la population mondiale. © Drobot Dean, Adobe Stock

Redheads make up only 2% of the world’s population. In addition, they experience pain differently than others. Researchers now know why!

Venetian copper, hair Carrot, Copper or auburn, may have fifty shades of red, but all have the same origin Genetic, A mutation Uncomfortable MC1R There are signs (five known) for melanocortin 1 receptor Melanocytes.

Inactive in Redheads, He no longer recognizesHormone Melanotropic (MSH) then produces only one type Melanin, Responsible for pigmentation Color Skin, hair and body hair, flomelanin. The color of this pigment ranges from yellow to brown and is responsible for all shades of red.

But this is not the only evolution of this mutation. True, for the past fifteen years, scientists have known that mice and humans carry the gene MC1R Feel the transfer Pain Different from others. According to observations, redheads have an entry Basal Pain tolerance, or nociception, is higher than others, and they are more sensitive Pain relievers Opioids.

However, the mechanism behind these results remains unclear to this day. A team that brings together researchers from all four corners In the world Light The link between red hair and pain tolerance is not clear at first glance.

Interpretations of high pain tolerance in redheads

The redheads were not abused during these experiments and were administered to mice with a red coat carrying the gene. MC1R Transferred. Support for red mice a Stress It is twice as strong as wild rats with black coats and lasts for five seconds longer than others with a hot plate at 52 C. To explain this increased tolerance to pain, scientists have wondered whether melanocytes first enteredEquation. In their experience, they are really one of the variables to consider, because the MC1R mutation modifies Atoms They produce.

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In redheads, melanocytes, the protein precursors of many hormones, including me-endorphins and melanotropic hormone, no longer produce enough propiomelanocortin. The latter does not interact with their receptor: at the MC4R level for the opioid receptor for β-endorphin and the melanotropic hormone Neurons Nociceptors. The opioid receptor is also stimulated by other hormones that are not derived from propiomelanocortin, although MC4R is inactive in redheads.

Therefore, with an inactive receptor, nociceptor neurons need more pain stimulation to be activated, which corresponds to the level of high pain tolerance observed in redheads, as well as their sensitivity to opioids.

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