Researchers Reveal Why Redheads May Have Different Pain Thresholds

Researchers Reveal Why Redheads May Have Different Pain Thresholds

Massachusetts General Hospital’s investigators during the new research provide understanding on why people who have red hair are significantly sensitive to certain types of pain. This research by investigators was published in the Science Advances. People who have red hair or any animal with red fur, the cells in the skin which produce pigment are called melanocytes.

Researchers Reveal Why Redheads May Have Different Pain Thresholds

They contain an alternative form of melanocortin 1 receptor. This receptor adopts the position on the surface of the cell, and in case it is activated with the help of circulation in hormones is known as melanocortin. It causes melanocyte to change from generating red or yellow melanin to produce black or brown melanin pigment. 

Researchers Reveal Why Redheads May Have Different Pain Thresholds

Recently, David E. Fisher, who is a director of Mass general Centre for cancer and a director of Mass general’s Cutaneous Biology research, explained that the inability of individuals with red hair to darken and tan their skin is known to be inactive variants because of this receptor.

To examine the mechanisms for the different pain builds in individuals with red hair, Fisher and his teammates studied the mice with red hair that it actually contains different alternative which lacks the functions of receptors of melanocortin and also exhibits huge pain building. 

During the research, the team came with the result that loss of melanocortin 1 receptor in the mice with red hair caused the melanocytes in animals to produce and discharge lower levels of a molecule. These kinds of molecules function in an individual with red hair are known as POMC (Proopiomelanocortin).

Later on, it cuts into many numbers of different hormones, which also include one that senses the pain and another which blocks the pain. In the presence of these kinds of hormones, they maintain a balance in opioid receptors that transmits pain, and other receptors like melanocortin 4 enhance the perception of their pain.

Mice with red hair/fur (as they possibly considered just like humans), having those two hormones mentioned above at a low level, will cancel one another. Although, their body also produces an additional number of factors related to non-melanocyte, which activate the receptors of opioid and helps in blocking their pain.

Fisher says that these findings show the mechanistic base behind previous evidence and suggesting varied pain building due to different kind of pigmentations. With the help of understanding these functions, validation of the previous evidence and worthy information for medical employees while caring for those who suffer from these kinds of pain may vary.

Fisher also adds that the result shows the new different ways to control and manipulate the natural processes of the body. These kinds of receptors also help to control the pain perception of an individual. After designing new techniques of medications that transmit melanocortin 4 receptors are involved in feeling pain.

“Our work which is still going focuses on explaining how additional signals of skin regulate the pain and deriving opioid receptors,” said author Lajos V. Kemeny who is a research person in dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital. It also added that understanding these paths more deeply may give a better lead to identify other strategies which will help in pain-modulating.


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