Scorpion venom: pharmacological analysis and its applications

Mukesh Kumar Chaubey

Abstract


Scorpions belong to class: Arachnida, order: Scorpionida represented now by approximately 1500 species. These are one of the most ancient group of the animals on the earth conserving their morphology almost unaltered and are the most successful inhabitants of the earth. Scorpions when stimulated secrete venom which is a cocktail of variable concentration of neurotoxins, cardiotoxins, nephrotoxins, hemolytic toxins, phosphodiesterases, phospholipases, hyaluronidase, glucosaminoglycans, histamine, seratonin, tryptophan and cytokine releasers. According to an estimate, frequency of deaths caused by scorpion sting is higher in comparison to that of caused by snake-bite. Almost all of these lethal scorpions except Hemiscorpious species belong to scorpion family Buthidae comprising 500 species. Scorpion venoms show variable reactions in envenomated patients. However, closer the phylogenic relationship among the scorpions, more similar the immunological properties. Furthermore, various constituents of venom may act directly or indirectly and individually or synergistically to exert their effects. Scorpion stings cause a wide range of conditions from severe local skin reactions to neurologic, respiratory and cardiovascular collapse. Lethal members of Buthidae family include Buthus, Parabuthus, Mesobuthus, Tityus, Leiurus, Androctonus and Centruroides. Besides their lethal properties, scorpion venoms have some unique properties beneficial to mankind. These contain anti-insect, antimicrobial and anticancer properties and thus, can play a key role in the insect pest management programmes, treatment of microbial infection and in the treatment of various cancer types.


Keywords


Scorpion venom; Envenomation; Neurotoxins; Ion channel blockers; Anticancer peptide; Antivenom

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References


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