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Receptor pharmacology in 21st century therapeutics - Essay Example

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RECEPTOR PHARMACOLOGY IN 21ST CENTURY THERAPEUTICS Student Tutor name: Date due: Introduction From the beginning of the 20th century, there have been enormous leaps of development in the pharmaceutical industry and the science of pharmacology…
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Download file to see previous pages Most of the hormones, inflammatory mediators and neurotransmitters known to man were discovered in the 20th and 21st centuries (Sneader, 2005: 388). Also, the realization that that chemical interaction plays an essential role in all the regulatory mechanisms of our bodies created an enormous area of common ground between pharmacology and physiology. The concept of receptors in pharmacology was also introduced in this era. A receptor, in pharmacology, is a cellular macromolecule that is concerned specifically and directly with chemical signaling within and between cells. Hormones, neurotransmitters and intracellular messengers cause a change in cellular activity to join receptors. The concept of receptors in pharmacology, together with its associated technologies, has boosted the field of therapeutics enormously due to the numerous occasions of drug discoveries (Kerkut & Gilbert, 1985: 384). History The discovery of the receptor concept has a long history. From long ago, man has always been intrigued by the ability of animals to differentiate between the smells and tastes of various substances (Gulini; et al 2000: 74). For example, in 50BC, Lucretius speculated that odours were conveyed by tiny particles, which had distinctive shapes in accordance to the substances they emanated from. Each type of particle would fit in specific spaces on the palate and the nostrils, thus receiving unique interpretation in the brain (Bailey, 1949, 45). The same theory of recognition sites complementing specific molecules is reiterated by John Locke in his work, Essay Concerning Human Understanding of 1690 (Mobilereference, 2008, 82). As prescient as they were, such theories could not be researched until the 19th century due to technological drawbacks. At this time, it becomes possible to disintegrate plant and animal materials while separating the individual components and purify them through fraction crystallization. This technology allowed scientists to obtain plant alkaloids like atropine, nicotine, strychnine, pilocarpine and morphine in a pure form. These and more substances proved to be invaluable resources in research on physiological function. For example, J.N. Langley used nicotine to activate then block the nerves that originate from the autonomic gangalia for the first time. His research allowed him to identify the divisions and distributions of the autonomic nervous system (Patil 2012: 281). Another scientist who was reaching similar conclusions at the time was Paul Ehrlich of Frankfurt. For the first time in history, he made a systematic research of the relationship between the biological actions of organic molecules and their chemical structures (Foye, Lemke, Williams 2013: 30). Together with organic chemist A. Bertheim, they organized and tested over 600 organo-metallic compounds that incorporated arsenic and mercury. Among the results of their research was the discovery of drugs such as salvarsan that destroyed pathogenic microorganisms responsible for diseases like syphilis. Paul Ehrlich also did some research on the selective staining of cells by dyes and the action of bacterial toxins. After all this research, he concluded that all biologically active molecules must bind to be effective. (Stephenson, 1956, 27). Due to their extensive and relentless research, Langley and Ehrlich are today recognized for their introduction of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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