Augusta, GA, United States (AHN) – Scientists from the Medical College of Georgia are eying the use of spider venom as a cure for erectile dysfunction. Experiments have shown that one side effect of the Brazilian wandering spider’s sting is a four-hour long erection.
According to Dr. Kenia Nunes, physiologist of the college, the venom of the Phoneutria nigriventer spider contains a rich mixture of several molecules that could cause priapism – a condition that causes the penis to be continually erect.
However, the spider’s bite has other side effects, such as loss of muscle control, severe pain, difficulty breathing and possible death due to oxygen deprivation unless the bite victim is treated with anti-venom.
Nunes said the unusual effect of the spider bite could treat ED in men and women. The toxin is apparently safe for humans because according to the curator of arachnids at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum, only 10 people of 7,000 bitten by the spider have died from the insect’s sting.
The scientists experimented using rats with erection and hypertension problems. The lab rats were injected with a peptide called PnTX2-6, which helped the animal achieve an erection.
Even prior to the publication of Nunes’ study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, there are reports that the Brazilian wandering spider – normally living in tropical banana plantations – could be found sold in some American and Canadian supermarkets.
Nunes’ team, in another ED experiment, found out that the activation of the ET-/ETA Pathway contributes to ED associated with mineralocorticoid hypertension.