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first_img Rats Are Chowing Down on New Car Wiring, Because It’s Made With SoyNaked Mole-Rats May be Immune to Aging Anyone who has ever cut their finger knows how painful it can be. The pain makes us very aware of the injury, and so we automatically protect that area more readily so that it can heal. But nobody likes pain, and if we could remove it from the healing process that would be great.There is one animal that feels no pain, though, and scientists have figured out why. That animal is the naked mole-rat, also commonly referred to as a sand puppy.These 10cm-long naked rats live underground in East Africa. They have very distinct large and protruding teeth used to move through soil very quickly (forwards and backwards). They are also insensitive to pain. You can pour acid on them, or rub capsaicin into their skin (the active component of chili peppers) and they won’t even flinch.The pain insensitivity extends to cuts on their body, which will happen regularly if you’re spending most of your day digging underground. When cut, humans and other mammals experience heat hyperalgesia around injuries, which means even only slightly warm temperatures can feel like they are burning you. Our bodies even increase the amount of pain sensors around the injuries. Naked role-mats don’t experience this.We know that the mole rats don’t suffer pain because they lack a key neurotransmitter called Substance P that sends pain signals to the central nervous system. Researchers at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine have now discovered that it’s an enzyme change that blocks any pain from registering or any negative reaction happening around cuts, like increasing the amount of pain sensors. The rat’s body just gets on with healing the injury while the little rodent carries on unaware.Roman Klementschitz/WikimediaIt is hoped that the way in which the naked mole-rat body doesn’t react to pain can be fully understood and used for other mammals and maybe even humans. We’d still be injured, we’d still need to heal, but if the wound can be protected and the pain reaction removed completely, that would be great, right? Stay on targetlast_img read more