A fungus that produces a potent brew of caffeine has been found in mushrooms, and scientists say it could have medical applications.
It turns out that some mushrooms are capable of producing an even more potent brew that can last for days and even weeks at room temperature, potentially providing a new way to treat sleep apnea.
Researchers from the University of California at San Diego found that the fungi called Trichophyton have the ability to rapidly release caffeine from their cytoplasmic compartments, or cytoplcasts, and into the cytoploas.
The caffeine can then be absorbed by the central nervous system, where it can bind to a receptor called CGRP and activate its transcription factor, which in turn triggers a cascade of events that causes the mushroom to release a second compound called chorine.
That compound is also known as chlorogenic acid, and researchers say it may also act as a painkiller.
Chorine binds to the CGRp receptor, which triggers a chain reaction that results in a release of painkilling substances that activate the CXCR4 receptor.
The release of the compound is so powerful that it induces a type of hyperalgesia, or intense burning pain, which the researchers describe as “pain-like” and “tough.”
That chemical, called chitonine, is also used as a potent anti-inflammatory.
Chitonine can also be used as an appetite suppressant and is thought to protect against obesity and diabetes.
But it also has an impact on sleep.
Researchers have found that chitonate in mushrooms triggers a process that causes sleep paralysis in mice, which is one of the hallmarks of sleep apneas, and a sleep cycle disruption that results from the release of chitonic acid.
“It’s really a really interesting property of mushrooms that can produce a ton of compounds that are actually very potent,” said Dr. Mark Glynn, an assistant professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine.
“There’s been some speculation that this is the mechanism by which we can produce an endorphin-like response that helps to regulate the body clock, which we all know has an effect on sleep.”
The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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