Emily Ellis/Sandbox

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Two 3D printed objects and a box

A drug and its mirror image

Are the molecules shown on the left below and on the right identical, or are they different from each other? You can rotate the molecule on the right with your mouse to match the molecule on the left.


Medical Uses

The drug Salbutamol is an asthma drug used to treat chronic bronchitis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder), and exercise-induced asthma. It is also known as Albuterol, Levalbuterol, and Proventil. It is generally an oral inhaler that is used for prevention and treatment of the symptoms that accompany the conditions mentioned before.


The drug itself is a racemic mixture, or combination of both the S-isomer (the mirror image) and the R-isomer (the drug). The R-isomer is 150 times more likely to bond with the beta2-adrenergic receptor than the S-isomer, but it is much less expensive for the drug companies to produce both isomers when creating the drugs. The beta2-adrenergic receptors (usually pulmonary) are 29 times more receptive to the Salbutamol than the beta1-adrenergic receptors, which are usually found in the heart.


Some common brand names for the drug are: Aerolin, ProAir, and Ventolin.


Proteopedia Page Contributors and Editors (what is this?)

Karsten Theis, Emily Ellis

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