Tityus serrulatus sting causes thousands of deaths annually worldwide. T. serrulatus-envenomed victims exhibit local or systemic reaction that culminates in pulmonary oedema, potentially leading to death. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying T. serrulatus venom (TsV) activity remain unknown. Here we show that TsV triggers NLRP3 inflammasome activation via K+ efflux. Mechanistically, TsV triggers lung-resident cells to release PGE2, which induces IL-1β production via E prostanoid receptor 2/4-cAMP-PKA-NFκB-dependent mechanisms. IL-1β/IL-1R actions account for oedema and neutrophil recruitment to the lungs, leading to TsV-induced mortality. Inflammasome activation triggers LTB4 production and further PGE2 via IL-1β/IL-1R signalling. Activation of LTB4-BLT1/2 pathway decreases cAMP generation, controlling TsV-induced inflammation. Exogenous administration confirms LTB4 anti-inflammatory activity and abrogates TsV-induced mortality. These results suggest that the balance between LTB4 and PGE2 determines the amount of IL-1β inflammasome-dependent release and the outcome of envenomation. We suggest COX1/2 inhibition as an effective therapeutic intervention for scorpion envenomation.
Scorpion sting-induced human envenomation provokes an intense inflammatory reaction. However, the mechanisms behind the recognition of scorpion venom and the induction of mediator release in mammalian cells are unknown. We demonstrated that TLR2, TLR4 and CD14 receptors sense Tityus serrulatus venom (TsV) and its major component, toxin 1 (Ts1), to mediate cytokine and lipid mediator production. Additionally, we demonstrated that TsV induces TLR2- and TLR4/MyD88-dependent NF-κB activation and TLR4-dependent and TLR2/MyD88-independent c-Jun activation. Similar to TsV, Ts1 induces MyD88-dependent NF-κB phosphorylation via TLR2 and TLR4 receptors, while c-Jun activation is dependent on neither TLR2 nor TLR4/MyD88. Therefore, we propose the term venom-associated molecular pattern (VAMP) to refer to molecules that are introduced into the host by stings and are recognized by PRRs, resulting in inflammation.
Scorpion envenomation induces a systemic immune response, and neurotoxins of venom act on specific ion channels, modulating neurotransmitter release or activity. However, little is known about the immunomodulatory effects of crude venom from scorpion Tityus serrulatus (TsV) or its toxins (Ts1, Ts2 and Ts6) in combination with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). To investigate the immunomodulatory effects of TsV and its toxins (Ts1, Ts2 and Ts6), J774.1 cells were stimulated with different concentrations (25, 50 and 100 μg/mL) of venom or toxins pre-stimulated or not with LPS (0.5 μg/mL). Macrophage cytotoxicity was assessed, and nitric oxide (NO) and cytokine production were analyzed utilizing the culture supernatants. TsV and its toxins did not produce cytotoxic effects. Depending on the concentrations used, TsV, Ts1 and Ts6 stimulated the production of NO, interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in J774.1 cells, which were enhanced under LPS co-stimulation. However, LPS + Ts2 inhibited NO, IL-6 and TNF-α production, and Ts2 alone stimulated the production of IL-10, suggesting an anti-inflammatory activity for this toxin. Our findings are important for the basic understanding of the mechanisms involved in macrophage activation following envenomation; additionally, these findings may contribute to the discovery of new therapeutic compounds to treat immune-mediated diseases.
Interleukin (IL)-1β is a potential target for treatment of several inflammatory diseases, including envenomation by the scorpion Tityus serrulatus. In this context, bioactive lipids such as prostaglandin (PG)E2 and leukotriene (LT)B4 modulate the production of IL-1β by innate immune cells. Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that perceive T. serrulatus venom (TsV), and orchestrate LTB4, PGE2, and cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) production to regulate IL-1β release are unknown. Furthermore, molecular mechanisms driving human cell responses to TsV remain uncharacterized. Here, we identified that both CD14 and CD36 control the synthesis of bioactive lipids, inflammatory cytokines, and mortality mediated by TsV. CD14 induces PGE2/cAMP/IL-1β release and inflammation. By contrast, CD36 shunts eicosanoid metabolism toward production of LTB4, which represses the PGE2/cAMP/IL-1β axis and mortality. Of importance, the molecular mechanisms observed in mice strongly correlate with those of human cell responses to TsV. Overall, this study provides major insights into molecular mechanisms connecting CD14 and CD36 with differential eicosanoid metabolism and inflammation mediated by IL-1β.
Inflammatory mediators are thought to be involved in the systemic and local immune response induced by the Tityus serrulatus scorpion envenomation. New functional aspects of lipid mediators have recently been described. Here, we examine the unreported role of lipid mediators in cell recruitment to the peritoneal cavity after an injection with Ts2 or Ts6 toxins isolated from the T. serrulatus scorpion venom. In this report, we demonstrate that following a single intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of Ts2 or Ts6 (250 μg/kg) in mice, there was an induction of leukocytosis with a predominance of neutrophils observed at 4, 24, 48 and 96 h. Moreover, total protein, leukotriene (LT)B(4), prostaglandin (PG)E(2) and pro-inflammatory cytokine levels were increased. We also observed an increase of regulatory cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-10, after the Ts2 injection. Finally, we observed that Ts2 or Ts6 injection in 5-lipoxygenase (LO) deficient mice and in wild type (WT) 129sv mice pre-treated with LTs and PGs inhibitors (MK-886 and celecoxib, respectively) a reduction the influx of leukocytes occurs in comparison to WT. The recruitment of these cells demonstrated a phenotype characteristic of neutrophils, macrophages, CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes expressing GR1+, F4/80+, CD3+/CD4+ and CD3+/CD8+, respectively. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that Ts2 and Ts6 induce inflammation by mechanisms dependent on lipid mediators and cytokine production. Ts2 may play a regulatory role whereas Ts6 exhibits pro-inflammatory activity exclusively.
Scorpion envenomation is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among accidents caused by venomous animals. Major clinical manifestations that precede death after scorpion envenomation include heart failure and pulmonary edema. Here, we demonstrate that cardiac dysfunction and fatal outcomes caused by lethal scorpion envenomation in mice are mediated by a neuro-immune interaction linking IL-1 receptor signaling, prostaglandin E2, and acetylcholine release. IL-1R deficiency, the treatment with a high dose of dexamethasone or blockage of parasympathetic signaling using atropine or vagotomy, abolished heart failure and mortality of envenomed mice. Therefore, we propose the use of dexamethasone administration very early after envenomation, even before antiserum, to inhibit the production of inflammatory mediators and acetylcholine release, and to reduce the risk of death.
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