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Toxicon. 1994 Feb;32(2):191-200.

Cardiovascular effects of Buthus martensii (Karsch) scorpion venom.

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  • 1Département de Physiologie, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada.


Buthus martensii (Karsch) (BMK) scorpion envenomation is a common medical problem in China and BMK scorpion has been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. However, the cardiovascular effects of this venom have not been systematically investigated. In the present study, i.v. BMK venom injection significantly increased the blood pressure in conscious rats in a concentration-dependent manner (ED50 = 59 +/- 12 micrograms/kg). The increase in blood pressure occurred within 1 min of injection of the venom and was sustained for more than 50 min. Heart rate was not changed by the venom in conscious rats. In vitro studies with BMK venom revealed the increase in the force of contraction, without modification of the contraction frequency (within 20 min) of isolated atrial strips. Contractions of isolated arterial strips from aorta, renal and vertebral arteries were also enhanced by BMK venom with a time lag of 8 min between the application of the venom and the initiation of the contraction. Furthermore, BMK venom-induced rises in blood pressure in vivo and increased contraction of isolated vessel strips were inhibited by prazosin and tolazoline, respectively, two alpha 1-adrenergic antagonists. BMK venom alone did not alter intracellular calcium concentrations, [Ca2+]i, in cultured vascular smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells. However, BMK venom significantly increased the metabolism of InsP3 in dispersed cardiac myocytes, indicating a direct effect on cardiac myocytes. These results demonstrate the significant cardiovascular effects of BMK venom, which may be mediated by an alteration in InsP3 in cardiac myocytes but not by [Ca2+]i in vascular smooth muscle cells.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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