Some of us are partly Neanderthals, and that can affect how we treat different medicines – NRK Trøndelag

Some of us are partly Neanderthals, and that can affect how we treat different medicines - NRK Trøndelag

Not everyone reacts to medication the same way. There could be different reasons for exactly that.

But now researchers have found that this may also have something to do with our heritage. The legacy of our early relatives.

Every person born outside Africa today has between 1 and 4 percent of their DNA from Neanderthals.

And one such genetic variant, which 20% of all Europeans possess, ensures that it takes longer for the body to clear certain drugs from the system.

– This came as a surprise. It’s interesting to see that mixing with Neanderthals had medical consequences to this day, Hugo Zeberg tells NRK.

He is a researcher at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, and led the new institute the study.

important balancing

In order for the drug to be effective and harmless, it is important to take the right amount.

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For example, when we swallow a pain-relieving tablet, our body immediately begins the process of breaking down the drug.

This task is performed by confirmed enzyme in our liver. But the activity of these enzymes varies from person to person. some It “works” slower.

This means, among other things, that what is a file Believes One person’s medication dose may be dangerous for another person.

And now researchers have discovered it Less efficient enzymes are inherited from Neanderthals.

Epox and blood thinners

Among the drugs that take these enzymes the longest to break down are ibuprofen (Ibux), warfarin (a blood-thinning drug known as Marevan), and statins.

If you are a carrier of the gene variant in question, ibuprofen, for example, has one half life In nine hours in the body. Two hours is normal for others.

Ibux is one of the drugs affected by Neanderthal inheritance, according to the new study.

Photo: Ola Magaland/NRK

Hugo Zeberg says the discovery isn’t necessarily very important to doctors and patients, but he still thinks it’s noteworthy.

For a physician, it may not be very important to know that this variant gene originates from Neanderthals. But for people interested in evolution and medicine, it’s fascinating to see the effects of this inheritance among people today.

And only in recent years has one learned how important this knowledge is. Inheritance from Neanderthals also played a role in relation to MERS.

These genetic variants are medically important. We’ve seen that especially with regard to covid-19. It is estimated that approximately one million people have died from this variant in the past three years.

Provides better understanding

Neanderthals lived in Europe and Asia for hundreds of thousands of years before the appearance of modern humans.

For some time they lived side by side, making children with each other.

So even though our relatives are long gone, we still preserve their legacy.

It is not yet known exactly what this legacy will entail, but the more time passes, the more answers we get.

The researchers believe that although the new discovery may not make much difference to medical treatment, it is still significant.

However, tracing the origin of variations in such important enzymes can give us a better understanding of the environment in which they evolved. It helps us understand the healthy diversity we see today.

Hugo Seiberg, researcher at the Karolinska Institutet.

Hugo Seiberg researches Neanderthal heritage. Over the past few years, he and his colleagues have found many interesting connections.

Photo: private

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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