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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 11 (2002), Issue 3, Pages 173-180

The dynamics of cytokine d nitric oxide secretion in mice injected with Tityus serrulatus scorpion venom

1Laboratório de Imunoquímica, Instituto Butantan, São Paulo, Brazil
2Instituto de Biotecnología, UNAM, Cuernavaca, Mexico

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aims: The effects of Tityus serrulatus venom (TSV) were analysed with respect to the susceptibility of four isogenic mouse, the symptoms following injection of venom and the inflammatory mediators in an experimental model of severe envenomation induced in mice.

Methods: The susceptibility was analysed by lethal dose (LD50) determination, including the symptoms observed during envenomating and glucose levels. The detection of cytokines in serum from mice were analysed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and nitric oxide (NO) was analysed using nitrite determination.

Results: The estimated LD50 values were in micrograms per 100 microliters, and the susceptibility of mice to TSV varies with: (a) mouse strain and route of injection (A/J < BALB/c < C57Bl/6 = DBA); (b) mouse strain and sex (A/J female and male < BALB/c female and male); and (c) body weight (all groups of A/J < BALB/c groups).

Among the mouse strains studied, BALB/c mice presented moderate sensibility to TSV, with changes in specific signs and serum levels of glucose, several cytokines and NO, when injected intraperitoneally (i.p.) with 1 LD50 of venom. Sweating, salivation and tremor were the specific signs that preceded death. The maximum levels of glucose in sera from mice injected i.p. with 1 LD50 of TSV were observed 60-90 min post-injection. Significant differences were observed in the time-course of cytokine levels, and the venom induced marked elevations of interleukin (IL)-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10 and interferon gamma (IFN-γ). The maximum levels of IL-1α and IL-1β were observed 2 h post-injection. The more pronounced levels of IL-6 were observed 4 h post-injection. There was an early increase in IFN-γ followed by an even higher level after 4 h. IL-10 levels peaked between 6 and 8 h, and this cytokine probably modulates the secretion of IFN-γ. Tumor necrosis factor release was not detected in BALB/c mice injected with TSV. NO levels attained maximal release after 2 h, following venom injection, while a second peak for NO was at 6 h.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that the susceptibility to the systemic effects of the venom varies among mice of different haplotypes, and that the cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6, IFN-γ and NO are strongly involved in the pathogenesis caused by this venom and are correlated with the severity of envenomation.