Scorpion venoms are composed of several substances with different pharmacological activities. Neurotoxins exert their effects by targeting ion channels resulting in toxic effects to mammals, insects and crustaceans. Tb II-I, a fraction isolated from Tityus bahiensis scorpion venom, was investigated for its ability to induce neurological and immune-inflammatory effects. Two putative β-sodium channel toxins were identified in this fraction, Tb2 II and Tb 4, the latter having been completely sequenced by mass spectrometry. Male Wistar rats, stereotaxically implanted with intrahippocampal cannulas and electrodes, were injected with Tb II-I (2 µg/2 µL) via the intrahippocampal route. The behavior, electrographic activity and cellular integrity of the animals were analyzed and the intracerebral level of cytokines determined. Tb II-I injection induced seizures and damage in the hippocampus. These alterations were correlated with the changes in the level of the cytokines tumoral necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). Therefore, the binding of Tb II-I to its target in the central nervous system may induce inflammation resulting in neuropathological and behavioral alterations.
BackgroundScorpion envenoming is a public health problem in Brazil, where Tityus serrulatus and T. bahiensis are considered the most dangerous scorpions. They are well adapted to urbanized environments, and there is an increasing probability of human exposure to these venoms, including during pregnancy. Not much is known about the effects of prenatal exposure to the venom, and no information is available to aid in the rational treatment of victims stung during pregnancy. Thus, this study aimed to investigate whether venom from the scorpion T. bahiensis administered once to pregnant female rats at a dose that causes a moderate envenomation may lead to deleterious effects on the reproductive performance of the dams and on the development of their offspring. This is the first work demonstrating that T. bahiensis venom, when administered experimentally to rats, alters maternal reproductive performance and the morphological development of fetuses. The venom was given to dams on the 5th (GD5) or on the 10th (GD10) gestational day. After laparotomy, on GD21, fetuses and placentas were counted, weighed and externally analyzed. The corpora lutea were counted. The sex and vitality of fetuses were evaluated, and each litter was then randomly divided for visceral or skeletal analyses. Data were analyzed by ANOVA followed by the Tukey-Kramer test and Fisher’s exact test. The significance level for all tests was set at p < 0.05.ResultsGD5 group presented an increased number of pre-implantation losses. Weight gains in fetuses and placentas were observed in the GD5 and GD10 groups. Weights of the heart and lungs were elevated in GD5 and GD10 and liver weight in GD10.ConclusionsModerate envenomation by T. bahiensis scorpion venom alters maternal reproductive performance and fetal development. However, these are preliminary results whose causes should be investigated more carefully in future studies.
Scorpion envenomation is a public health problem, especially in tropical and subtropical countries. Considering the high incidence of scorpionism in some areas, pregnant women and nursing mothers may be possible victims. Scorpion stings alter the release of neurotransmitters and some cytokines. These mediators act as organizers and programmers in the adequate formation of the nerves, and non-physiological concentrations of them during the brain organization originate disorders and diseases that can appear later in the life of the individual. Despite the importance of this subject, there are only a few studies showing the effects of scorpion venom on maternal reproductive development, in the morphology and physical and behavioral development of offspring. The present review article summarizes the major findings on this issue. Biochemical changes in the blood – such as hyperglycemia, increase on the level of sodium and on the creatinine concentration – are observed after scorpion sting in humans and experimental animals. Some studies in the literature demonstrate that the scorpion venom affects the maternal reproductive development in humans and in experimental animals, increasing the frequency and amplitude of uterine contraction and the number of resorptions. The venom can also lead to some alterations in the embryonic or fetal development increasing the total weight of fetuses and of some organs. Moreover, it affects the general activity and locomotion during childhood and adulthood, and the anxiety level in adult females and males. It also alters the number of hippocampal neurons and interferes in the level of some cytokines. Altogether, it is evident that the venom, when administered during the pregnancy or lactation, affects the development of the offspring. Studies are being conducted to determine the actual participation of the venom in the development of the offspring, and to what extent they are detrimental to animal development.
scite is a Brooklyn-based organization that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.