Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scorpion has welcome sting for heart bypass patients

Date:
October 22, 2010
Source:
University of Leeds
Summary:
A toxin found in the venom of the Central American bark scorpion (Centruroides margaritatus) could hold the key to reducing heart bypass failures, according to new research.

A toxin found in the venom of the Central American bark scorpion (Centruroides margaritatus) could hold the key to reducing heart bypass failures, according to research from the University of Leeds.

The study, published online in Cardiovascular Research, reports that one of the scorpion's toxins, margatoxin, is at least 100 times more potent at preventing neointimal hyperplasia -- the most comon cause of bypass graft failure -- than any other known compound.

Neointimal hyperplasia is the blood vessel's response to injury. It triggers the growth of new cells, causing chronic obstruction on the inside of the vessel.

When a vein is grafted onto the heart during a bypass procedure, the injury response kicks in as the vein tries to adapt to the new environment and different circulatory pressures. Whilst the growth of new cells helps to strengthen the vein, the internal cell growth restricts blood flow and ultimately causes the graft to fail.

The potency of the margatoxin in suppressing the injury response mechanism took the team by surprise, says lead author Professor Beech from the University's Faculty of Biological Sciences. "It's staggeringly potent. We're talking about needing very few molecules in order to obtain an effect."

The toxin works by inhibiting the activity of a specific potassium ion channel -- a pore in the cell membrane that opens and closes in response to electrical signals and indirectly enhances delivery of a intracellular messenger, the calcium ion.

"We knew from experimental research in immunology that the ion channel Kv1.3 is involved in activating immune system responses and that it's linked with chronic inflammation problems in the immune system, such as those you see with multiple sclerosis," says Professor Beech. "Since our own studies had identified Kv1.3's presence in injured blood vessels, which are also often complicated by chronic inflammation, we wanted to see if the same immune system blockers would inhibit neointimal hyperplasia."

"There were a number of good blockers of this ion channel available to screen. Several compounds are developed from plants, and one comes from scorpion venom," he says, "but margatoxin was the most potent of all these compounds by a significant margin."

Professor Beech says margatoxin would probably be unsuitable as a drug that could be swallowed, inhaled or injected, but it could potentially be taken forward as a spray-on treatment to the vein itself once it's been removed and is waiting to be grafted onto the heart.

The research was funded by the British Heart Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leeds. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Cheong, J. Li, P. Sukumar, B. Kumar, F. Zeng, K. Riches, C. Munsch, I. C. Wood, K. E. Porter, D. J. Beech. Potent suppression of vascular smooth muscle cell migration and human neointimal hyperplasia by KV1.3 channel blockers. Cardiovascular Research, 2010; DOI: 10.1093/cvr/cvq305

Cite This Page:

University of Leeds. "Scorpion has welcome sting for heart bypass patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101022063524.htm>.
University of Leeds. (2010, October 22). Scorpion has welcome sting for heart bypass patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101022063524.htm
University of Leeds. "Scorpion has welcome sting for heart bypass patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101022063524.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins