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Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins

Print version ISSN 0104-7930On-line version ISSN 1678-4936


CARVALHO, F. F. et al. Convulsive effects of some isolated venom fractions of the Tityus serrulatus scorpion: behavioral, electroencephalographic, and neuropathological aspects. J. Venom. Anim. Toxins [online]. 2000, vol.6, n.2, pp.238-260. ISSN 0104-7930.

It has been previously shown that the crude venom of Tityus serrulatus can cause convulsions. This study was designed to investigate the neurotoxic effects of B, C, G, and K fractions isolated from this venom. Intravenous injection of these fractions in mice (0.6 - 6.0 mg/kg body weight) showed that the C fraction is a potent convulsant and G fraction decreased the threshold for tonic hand limb extension elicited by transauricular electroshock. Unilateral injection of B, C, and K fractions, but not G fraction, into the hippocampus of rats (0.6 - 6.0 µg) caused electroencephalographic alterations consisting of spikes and epileptic discharges that began in the hippocampus and evolved to the cortex. The following motor signs were observed: movements of facial muscles, wet dog shake, immobility, myoclonus, wild-running with clonus, and in some cases, loss of postural control. Intrahippocampal injection of B, C, and K fraction, but not G fraction, caused neuronal loss at the injection site as well as in other hippocampal areas. The effect of these fractions on epileptiform activity and on neuronal loss was dose-dependent. The severity of the epileptiform activity in the ipsilateral hippocampus correlated with the severity of the neuronal loss. The electrographic, behavioral, and histological changes induced by B, C, and K fractions were similar to those obtained with other drugs that are commonly used to induce convulsion. The convulsant effects of the crude venom may be caused by the fractions studied in this work.

Keywords : scorpion fractions; electroshock; seizure; neurodegeneration; EEG record; hippocampus; Tityus serrulatus.

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