Neurotoxic activity of venom from the Australian eastern mouse spider (Missulena bradleyi) involves modulation of sodium channel gating.


:Mouse spiders represent a potential cause of serious envenomation in humans. This study examined the activity of Missulena bradleyi venom in several in vitro preparations. Whilst female M. bradleyi venom at doses up to 0.05 microl ml(-1) failed to alter twitch or resting tension in all preparations used, male venom (0.02 and 0.05 microl ml(-1)) produced potent effects on transmitter release in both smooth and skeletal neuromuscular preparations. In the mouse phrenic nerve diaphragm preparation, male M. bradleyi venom (0.02 microl ml(-1)) caused rapid fasciculations and an increase in indirectly evoked twitches. Male venom (0.02 and 0.05 microl ml(-1)) also caused a large contracture and rapid decrease in indirectly evoked twitches in the chick biventer cervicis muscle, however had no effect on responses to exogenous ACh (1 mM) or potassium chloride (40 mM). In the chick preparation, contractile responses to male M. bradleyi venom (0.05 microl ml(-1)) were attenuated by (+)-tubocurarine (100 microM) and by tetrodotoxin (TTX, 1 microM). Both actions of male M. bradleyi venom were blocked by Atrax robustus antivenom (2 units ml(-1)). In the unstimulated rat vas deferens, male venom (0.05 microl ml(-1)) caused contractions which were inhibited by a combination of prazosin (0.3 microM) and P(2X)-receptor desensitization (with alpha,beta-methylene ATP 10 microM). In the rat stimulated vas deferens, male venom (0.05 microl ml(-1)) augmented indirectly evoked twitches. Male venom (0.1 microl ml(-1)) causes a slowing of inactivation of TTX-sensitive sodium currents in acutely dissociated rat dorsal root ganglion neurons. These results suggest that venom from male M. bradleyi contains a potent neurotoxin which facilitates neurotransmitter release by modifying TTX-sensitive sodium channel gating. This action is similar to that of the delta-atracotoxins from Australian funnel-web spiders.


Br J Pharmacol


Rash LD,Birinyi-Strachan LC,Nicholson GM,Hodgson WC




Has Abstract


2000-08-01 00:00:00












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