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Anticonvulsant effects of the wasp Polybia ignobilis venom on chemically induced seizures and action on GABA and glutamate receptors.

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  • 1Neurobiology and Venoms Laboratory, Avenida Bandeirantes, 3900, FFCLRP/USP-Biology, Department of the Faculty of Phylosophy, Sciences and Literature of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, 14040-090 Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil.


Venoms of spiders and wasps are well recognized to present high affinity to the central nervous tissue of many mammalian species. Here we describe the effects of direct exposure of rat (Rattus norvegicus) brains to the crude and denatured venom of the Brazilian social wasp Polybia ignobilis. Lower doses of crude venom injected via intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) inhibited the exploratory activity of animals, while higher doses provoked severe generalized tonic-clonic seizures, with hind limb extension. The status epilepticus lasted for few minutes leading the animals to respiratory depression and death. In contrast, the denatured venom was anticonvulsant against acute seizures induced by the i.c.v. injection of bicuculline, picrotoxin and kainic acid, but it was ineffective against seizures caused by systemic pentylenetetrazole. Moreover, the [3H]-glutamate binding in membranes from rat brain cortex was inhibited by the denatured venom in lower concentrations than the [3H]-GABA binding. The denatured venom contains free GABA and glutamate (34 and 802 pg/microg of venom, respectively), but they are not the major binding inhibitors. These interactions of venom components with GABA and glutamate receptors could be responsible for the anticonvulsant effects introducing the venom from P. ignobilis as a potential pharmacological source of anticonvulsant drugs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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