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J Biol Chem. 1991 Feb 15;266(5):3178-85.

Discharge effect on pancreatic exocrine secretion produced by toxins purified from Tityus serrulatus scorpion venom.

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Departamento de Bioquimica, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Cuernavaca, Morales.


Three toxic polypeptides were purified from the venom of the Brazilian scorpion Tityus serrulatus by means of gel filtration in Sephadex G-50 and ion-exchange chromatography in carboxymethylcellulose. The peptides are basic molecules with molecular weights in the range of 7000 for which the amino acid compositions and sequences were determined. The effect of the purified peptides on pancreatic exocrine secretion in the guinea pig was studied. Biochemical measurements show that the cells are stimulated by these peptides to discharge their zymogen granules. Light and electron microscopic images confirm the biochemical measurements. At the light microscope level, acinar cells show dramatically fewer zymogen granules than in control pancreas with the appearance of large vacuoles and some loss of morphological integrity. Electron micrographs display apical regions devoid of zymogen granules and condensing vacuoles whereas acinar lumina contain crystalline secretory material. The secretory effect observed in vitro is comparable to that of carbamylcholine and that of the peptidergic secretagogue cholecystokinin-pancreozymin.

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