Author(s): Loureno GA, Lebrun I, Dorce VA
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Abstract Tityus serrulatus and Tityus bahiensis are considered to be the most venomous scorpions in Brazil and are responsible for most of the accidents that occur in our country. The main toxic agents in scorpion venoms are small basic polypeptides that act as neurotoxins. They cause a derangement of ion channels that result in abnormal release of neurotransmitters. In the present study we fractionated the venom of Tityus bahiensis and studied the effects of fractions P2, P3, P4, P5, P6 and P7, on the mammalian central nervous system. Intravenous injection of P5, P6 and P7 in rats induced spontaneous convulsion, intrahippocampal injection caused behavioural seizures, and P5 and P6 induced electrographic seizures. P5 caused neuronal damage in the CA1 area and P6 in the CA1, CA3 areas and hilus of the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus. Injection of P3 in the hippocampus did not induce convulsions or lesions. However, when injected intravenously in mice, this fraction reduced behavioural activity in an open field test. Unilateral injection of P4 in the hippocampus caused neuronal damage in the contralateral CA3, but not in the ipsilateral hippocampus. These results suggest that scorpion toxins present in the venom are able to act directly on the central nervous system promoting behavioural and histopathological effects.
This article was published in Toxicon
and referenced in Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access