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1.  Antinociception produced by Thalassia testudinum extract BM-21 is mediated by the inhibition of acid sensing ionic channels by the phenolic compound thalassiolin B 
Molecular Pain  2011;7:10.
Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) have a significant role in the sensation of pain and constitute an important target for the search of new antinociceptive drugs. In this work we studied the antinociceptive properties of the BM-21 extract, obtained from the sea grass Thalassia testudinum, in chemical and thermal models of nociception in mice. The action of the BM-21 extract and the major phenolic component isolated from this extract, a sulphated flavone glycoside named thalassiolin B, was studied in the chemical nociception test and in the ASIC currents of the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons obtained from Wistar rats.
Behavioral antinociceptive experiments were made on male OF-1 mice. Single oral administration of BM-21 produced a significant inhibition of chemical nociception caused by acetic acid and formalin (specifically during its second phase), and increased the reaction time in the hot plate test. Thalassiolin B reduced the licking behavior during both the phasic and tonic phases in the formalin test. It was also found that BM-21 and thalassiolin B selectively inhibited the fast desensitizing (τ < 400 ms) ASIC currents in DRG neurons obtained from Wistar rats, with a nonsignificant action on ASIC currents with a slow desensitizing time-course. The action of thalassiolin B shows no pH or voltage dependence nor is it modified by steady-state ASIC desensitization or voltage. The high concentration of thalassiolin B in the extract may account for the antinociceptive action of BM-21.
To our knowledge, this is the first report of an ASIC-current inhibitor derived of a marine-plant extract, and in a phenolic compound. The antinociceptive effects of BM-21 and thalassiolin B may be partially because of this action on the ASICs. That the active components of the extract are able to cross the blood-brain barrier gives them an additional advantage for future uses as tools to study pain mechanisms with a potential therapeutic application.
PMCID: PMC3037906  PMID: 21261973
2.  Phyla- and Subtype-Selectivity of CgNa, a Na+ Channel Toxin from the Venom of the Giant Caribbean Sea Anemone Condylactis Gigantea 
Because of their prominent role in electro-excitability, voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels have become the foremost important target of animal toxins. These toxins have developed the ability to discriminate between closely related NaV subtypes, making them powerful tools to study NaV channel function and structure. CgNa is a 47-amino acid residue type I toxin isolated from the venom of the Giant Caribbean Sea Anemone Condylactis gigantea. Previous studies showed that this toxin slows the fast inactivation of tetrodotoxin-sensitive NaV currents in rat dorsal root ganglion neurons. To illuminate the underlying NaV subtype-selectivity pattern, we have assayed the effects of CgNa on a broad range of mammalian isoforms (NaV1.2–NaV1.8) expressed in Xenopus oocytes. This study demonstrates that CgNa selectively slows the fast inactivation of rNaV1.3/β1, mNaV1.6/β1 and, to a lesser extent, hNaV1.5/β1, while the other mammalian isoforms remain unaffected. Importantly, CgNa was also examined on the insect sodium channel DmNaV1/tipE, revealing a clear phyla-selectivity in the efficacious actions of the toxin. CgNa strongly inhibits the inactivation of the insect NaV channel, resulting in a dramatic increase in peak current amplitude and complete removal of fast and steady-state inactivation. Together with the previously determined solution structure, the subtype-selective effects revealed in this study make of CgNa an interesting pharmacological probe to investigate the functional role of specific NaV channel subtypes. Moreover, further structural studies could provide important information on the molecular mechanism of NaV channel inactivation.
PMCID: PMC3153007  PMID: 21833172
sea anemone; toxin; inactivation; sodium channel; subtype; selectivity

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