The effect of the venom of the yellow Iranian scorpion Odontobuthus doriae on skeletal muscle preparations in vitro

Jalali, A. and Vatanpour, H. and Hosseininasab, Z. and Rowan, E.G. and Harvey, Alan L. (2007) The effect of the venom of the yellow Iranian scorpion Odontobuthus doriae on skeletal muscle preparations in vitro. Toxicon, 50 (8). pp. 1019-1026. ISSN 1879-3150 (

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The yellow Iranian scorpion Odontobuthus doriae can cause fatal envenoming, but its mechanism of action is unclear. One of the reported manifestations of envenoming is moderate to severe involuntary tremor of skeletal muscle. In order to understand better the mechanism of action of this venom on skeletal muscle function, we examined the effects of the venom in vitro on chick biventer cervicis (CBC) and mouse hemidiaphragm (MHD) nerve muscle preparations. O. doriae venom (0.3-10mug/ml) initially increased and then decreased twitch height. The venom also caused contracture in both preparations. In mouse triangularis sterni preparations, used for all intracellular recording techniques, the venom enhanced the release of acetylcholine and induced repetitive firing of nerve action potentials and endplate potentials in response to single-shock stimulation. With extracellular recording techniques, scorpion venom (1mug/ml) was found to cause changes to the perineural waveform associated with nerve terminal action potentials consistent with effects on Na(+) and K(+) currents. The main facilitatory effects of O. doriae venom are likely to be due to toxins that affect Na(+) channels in nerve-muscle preparations similar to most Old World scorpion venoms, but blocking effects on K(+) channels are also possible. Such effects could lead to initial enhancement of transmitter release that could underlie the muscle tremors seen in victims. Toxins acting on Na(+) and K+ currents have been isolated from the venom [Jalali, A., Bosmans, F., Amininasab, M., Clynen, E., Cuypers, E., Zaremirakabadi, A., Sarbolouki, M.N., Schoofs, L., Vatanpour, H., Tytgat, J., 2005. OD1, the first toxin isolated from the venom of the scorpion Odontobuthus doriae active on voltage-gated Na(+) channels. FEBS Lett. 579, 4181-4186; Abdel-Mottaleb, Y., Clynen, E., Jalali, A., Bosmans, F., Vatanpour, H., Schoofs, L., Tytgat, J., 2006. The first potassium channel toxin from the venom of the Iranian scorpion Odontobuthus doriae. FEBS Lett. 580, 6254-6258]; however, the muscle paralysis seen at higher concentrations of venom may be due to additional, as yet uncharacterised, components of the venom.