Pill popping has become a reflex action to aid quick pain relief, which often leads to gastro complications and sometimes even hospitaloisation.
Now, relief could be at hand with researchers at the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB) here synthesising a novel molecule that helps shield the stomach.
According to IICB researchers, their discovery provides relief from the stomach complications (gastropathy) arising from the use of common pain killers belonging to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) group.
Approximately 30 million patients worldwide consume NSAIDs on a daily basis to aid in pain, inflammation, rheumatic disorders and osteoarthritis. The downside is that approximately 107,000 patients are hospitalised every year due to NSAID-related gastrointestinal complications.
The IICB study chose indomethacin as the representative NSAID over others because it is most frequently used in gastrointestinal toxicity studies in experimental animals, in this case the Sprague-Dawley rats.
Indomethacin generates the deadly reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the cell which damages the cell's chemical energy (ATP) generating unit - the mitochondria.
"In order to block cell damage and the following organ damage, we have designed and synthesised a small molecule, tryptamine-gallic acid hybrid (SEGA), which successfully prevents damage by scavenging ROS, chelating the free iron and preventing cell death," Uday Bandyopadhyay of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, IICB, told IANS.
ROS, researchers explained, are chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen, also termed free radicals. If not reined in, they can release clustered iron in the mitochondria which in turn leads to production of more ROS.
The combo of free iron and ROS initiates a domino effect beginning with mitochondrial dysfunction, leading to cell damage and cell death that ultimately leads to organ damage (intestinal lining damage).
According to the study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in 2012, the hybrid product was formed when gallic acid (GA), an antioxidant was conjugated with 5'-hydroxy tryptamine (5HT) through amide linkage (the linkage found in proteins).
"Other tryptamine-antioxidant conjugates were synthesised and tested but SEGA was the most promising one," said Bandyopadhyay.
All in all, the shield of SEGA seems an important defence against NSAID induced stomach disorders.