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Toxicon. 1992 Sep;30(9):1081-91.

Pharmacological studies of jumper ant (Myrmecia pilosula) venom: evidence for the presence of histamine, and haemolytic and eicosanoid-releasing factors.

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Department of Pharmacology, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.


Jumper ant venom was prepared by extraction of venom sacs in distilled water and centrifugation to remove insoluble material. Jumper ant venom (2 micrograms/ml) produced a biphasic response on isolated guinea-pig ileum, i.e. an initial rapid contraction followed by a slower prolonged contraction. The histamine antagonist mepyramine (0.1 microM) inhibited the first phase of this response by greater than 90%. In the isolated rat stomach fundus strip (which is insensitive to histamine), jumper ant venom (6 micrograms/ml) produced only a single contraction. No tachyphylaxis was observed to repeated doses of jumper ant venom in guinea-pig ileum or rat fundus strip. Responses to jumper ant venom of the egg-albumin-sensitised guinea-pig ileum were not significantly different before and after an in vitro anaphylactic response induced by egg albumin (0.5 mg/ml). Fluorometric assay revealed a mean value of 0.9 +/- 0.2% of the dry weight as histamine in jumper ant venom. Both the lipoxygenase/cyclo-oxygenase inhibitor BW755C and the cyclooxygenase inhibitor indomethacin significantly inhibited the second phase response to jumper ant venom of the guinea-pig ileum, and the response of the rat fundus strip. The muscarinic receptor antagonist atropine (0.1 microM), the bradykinin antagonist [Thi5,8,D-Phe7]-bradykinin (10 microM) and the angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor captopril (20 microM) did not affect either phase of the venom response in guinea-pig ileum. Jumper ant venom caused haemolysis of guinea-pig blood. The degree of haemolysis was significantly reduced when boiled venom was used. These results suggest that jumper ant venom contains histamine and may cause the release of cyclo-oxygenase products. It also contains a heat-sensitive haemolytic factor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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