The in vivo cardiovascular effects of the Irukandji jellyfish (Carukia barnesi) nematocyst venom and a tentacle extract in rats

Ramasamy, Sharmaine, Isbister, Geoffrey K., Seymour, Jamie E., and Hodgson, Wayne C. (2005) The in vivo cardiovascular effects of the Irukandji jellyfish (Carukia barnesi) nematocyst venom and a tentacle extract in rats. Toxicology Letters, 155 (1). pp. 135-141.

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Abstract

Envenoming by Carukia barnesi may produce life-threatening Irukandji syndrome. There is little published on the activity of C. barnesi venom. This is the first study to investigate the in vivo cardiovascular effects of C. barnesi venom and a tentacle extract (devoid of nematocysts).

Venom (50 μg/kg or 100 μg/kg, i.v.) produced a pressor response (42 ± 3 and 44 ± 6 mmHg, respectively; n = 4) and increase in heart rate (31 ± 5 and 13 ± 2 bpm, respectively; n = 4) in anaesthetised rats. These changes were not dose-dependent and were followed by cardiovascular collapse in one of four rats receiving 50 μg/kg and three of four animals receiving 100 μg/kg. Prazosin (50 μg/kg, i.v.) significantly attenuated the venom (50 μg/kg, i.v.)-induced pressor response (−8 ± 3 mmHg; P < 0.05; n = 4) and tachycardia (−9 ± 4 bpm; P < 0.05; n = 4).

Tentacle extract (100 μg/kg; i.v.) produced a pressor response (51 ± 12 mmHg; n = 3) and an increase in heart rate (35 ± 1 bpm; n = 3) in anaesthetised rats, with no subsequent cardiovascular collapse.

The results of this study are consistent with the effects shown by humans envenomed by C. barnesi which are postulated to be a result of catecholamine release. We show, for the first time, that C. barnesi tentacle extract, free of nematocyst material, produces cardiovascular effects which are distinct from those caused by venom derived from isolated nematocysts.

Item ID: 30065
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3169
Keywords: Carukia barnesi; Irukandji; jellyfish; venom; catecholamines; in vivo
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2013 00:46
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1102 Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology > 110299 Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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