12 December, 2011

The medical significance of Leiurus abdullahbayrami in Turkey

It is well known that Leiurus quinquestriatus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) is the most venomous scorpion based on the LD50 value. In the last decade, three more Leiurus species have been described, but no data has been published on their medical significance (except that it has been safe to assume that they have the same potential as L. quinquestriatus).

Ozkan, Yagmur & Ark have now published a study of the venom of Leiurus abdullahbayrami Yagmur, Koc & Kunt, 2009 from southeastern Turkey and its lethal potency. LD50 studies on mice showed a LD50 value of 0.19 mg/kg, which is an extremely low value meaning a very potent venom. This means that Leiurus abdullahbayrami is a medical significant and potential lethal scorpion.

Currently, medically significant scorpion species belong to the Buthidae family and are represented by the genera Androctonus, Buthus, Mesobuthus, Hottentotta, Parabuthus, Tityus, Centruroides, Leiurus. Although Leiurus was originally considered a monotypic genus, four additional species have since been described. Leiurus abdullahbayrami (previously identified as L. quinquestriatus in Turkey) was classified as a new Leiurus species. This is the first report conducted on the lethality and biologic effects of L. abdullahbayrami scorpion venom in mice. In this study, the electrophoretic protein pattern of its venom was also determined. Two protein bands with molecular masses of 4 and 6 kDa were more strongly detected than other protein bands in the venom sample. Electrophoresis showed that L. abdullahbayrami scorpion venom possesses both short- and long-chain neurotoxins. The median lethal dose of this venom was found to be 0.19 mg/kg by subcutaneous (SC) injection in mice. Animals experimentally envenomed with L. abdullahbayrami venom exhibited hyperexcitability, agitation, aggressive behavior, squeaking and fighting, tachypnea, weakness, convulsions, and death due to cardiac and respiratory failure. In further studies, the potency of antivenom should be investigated in relation to the scorpion venom. Molecular and pharmacological studies are also required to identify and characterize L. abdullahbayrami scorpion venom.

Ozkan O, Yagmur EA, Ark M. A newly described scorpion species, Leiurus abdullahbayrami (Scorpion: Buthidae), and the lethal potency and in vivo effects of its venom. Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins Including Tropical Diseases. 2011;17(4):414-21.

Thanks to Dr. Ersen Yagmur for sending me this paper!

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