Scientists may have discovered new treatment for hyperhidrosis
Although sweat is not one of the most enjoyable things produced by our body, it has an extremely important function for our survival. It is through this crucial mechanism that our bodies regulate their temperature, ensuring that many of the vital functions can occur without major problems. So do not think that not producing this substance would be a blessing!
Unfortunately, some people are born with an exceptionally rare and little known condition called anhidrosis, which means they are unable to perspire. According to an article in Popular Science, this is the case of a couple of Pakistanis whose children suffer from this serious problem. According to the publication, to prevent their bodies from overheating, children spend much of their time in the basement.
This is because if children are too exposed to daylight, their body temperature rises and they lose consciousness. In fact, too much sun exposure can even be deadly to these children. However, a team of researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden came across the Pakistani family and made important discoveries about anhidrosis.
Search for the guilty
This group of scientists is dedicated to studying genetic anomalies caused by the mutation of a single gene. As explained, anhidrosis, although extremely rare when it occurs, is accompanied by other skin conditions. However, in the case of the Pakistani family, members are of special interest as they have only this condition, allowing researchers to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem.
Thus, after decoding the family members' genome, the researchers found that anhidrosis is caused by a single genetic mutation that affects the ITPR2 gene, which controls the body's production of sweat. This gene is related to the protein IP3R2, whose function is to form a channel in the brain that releases calcium when temperature sensitive cells are triggered.
This release triggers a chain of events that eventually results in sweat secretion and, in the case of Pakistani children, this mechanism does not work. According to the researchers, understanding how the process of sweat production occurs can lead to the development of drugs to treat the opposite problem, ie excessive sweat production.
Known as hyperhidrosis, this condition is much more common than anhidrosis and affects 2% of the world's population. Those affected have sweating on their palms, soles and armpits for no apparent reason, and in some people the amount is copious, which can be quite embarrassing.
Current treatments can be painful and include applying Botox to the affected areas - imagine getting an injection into your armpit! - and surgery. But according to the Swedish team, finding a way to inhibit IP3R2 levels may be a much simpler solution to the problem, and may allow them to reduce sweating by 60%.