Venomous Cnidaria from the Mexican Caribbean Sea
1Segura, Lourdes; 2Burnett, Joseph W.; 3Falcon, Andres; 3Aguilar, Manuel B. and 3de la Cotera, Heimer - de la Cotera, Edgar
1Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, México, 77580, 2University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, U.S.A., 3Centro de Neurobiologìa, Campus UNAM, Juriquilla, Queretaro, México, 76001.
We have recently focused our attention on the study of venomous marine invertebrates of the phylum Cnidaria, such as the medusae Linuche unguiculata, Carybdea spp., Cassiopea spp.; the fire corals, Millepora spp.; and the sea anemone, Bunodeopsis antillensis. All these pose a health hazard to swimmers and divers in the popular resort areas of the Mexican Caribbean. These animals deliver their venoms by means of an intracellular organelle, thenematocysts, which forcefully everts a toxin-coated thread to penetrate into the human dermis, causing various degrees of painful injury and systemic reaction. Our primary effort has been to evaluate the effects of various anti-pruritic and anti-inflammatory agents for the relief of pain and pruritus resulting from these stings.
Since Cnidaria venoms are mostly a complex mixture of toxic polypeptides and proteins, we are also performing their partial purification and characterization. An understanding of their structures and mode of action may allow for the design of better pharmacophores and antivenoms. Documented cases, their evaluation, and biochemical work will be presented.
Publication in this collection
08 Oct 2002
Date of issue