Gastric dysfunctions are commonly seen after scorpion envenomation, and the underlying mechanisms are not clear. Therefore, the present study was undertaken to investigate the effect of Indian red scorpion (Mesobuthus tamulus, MBT) venom on gastric fundus muscle contraction and the underlying mechanisms involved.
Materials and Methods:
In vitro isometric contraction was recorded from gastric fundus muscle strips on a chart recorder. The tissue was exposed to different concentrations of serotonin or crude MBT venom. The contractile responses to venom were expressed as the percentage of maximum contraction produced by serotonin at the beginning of each experiment. The contractile responses to 1.0 μg/ml of crude MBT venom were ascertained in the absence or presence of serotonin antagonist, methysergide.
Serotonin produced concentration-dependent fundus contractions (0.004–4.0 μM), and maximum contractile response was observed at 4.0 μM of serotonin. Hence, the contractile response obtained at 4.0 μM of serotonin was taken for normalization. The crude MBT venom (0.1–1.0 μg/ml) produced a concentration-dependent increase in fundus contractions (as % of maximum fundus contraction produced by serotonin at 4.0 μM). The maximum response was observed at 1.0 μg/ml of crude venom and a further increase in the concentration, up to 3.0 μg/ml, did not increase the response. In a separate series of experiments, pre-treatment with methysergide (1.0 μM) significantly attenuated the contractile response elicited by the venom (1.0 μg/ml) (P<0.05) and blocked the serotonin (4.0 μM) response.
The results suggest that the crude MBT venom produces gastric fundus contractions by partially involving serotonin.