Scorpion Venom For Bypass Patients
Written By:Ashish Gaur
27 Feb, 2011 - 06:15am
Scientists have found potential in scorpion venom in preventing bypass failures. According to the research toxins found scorpion venom help keep veins clear after bypass surgery. The study has found that ‘margatoxin’ could stop the scarring that can block grafted blood vessels after surgery.
It was a laboratory research, which was conducted on human and mouse cells. In this study scientists have found that how chemical channels in the walls of the cells govern the formation of scar tissue in blood vessels. Margatoxin was found to block these channels. The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Leeds. The study was published in the medical journal Cardiovascular Research.
Bypass surgery, which is a major operation and involves grafting of arteries and veins from one particular site of the body to those of the heart to bypass diseased vessels. It also involves one potential complication because of insertion of stent and grafts such as development of scar tissue in the blood vessels immediately around the site of the procedure. It is caused by the migration and growth of smooth muscle cells inside the new inner structure, which can eventually restrict blood flow in the vessel.
In this laboratory study, researchers examined the effects of different substances on healthy vessel tissue and at the sites of scar tissue in blood vessels from patients and mice. Researchers were particularly interested in the role of calcium- and potassium-transporting channels found in the cell walls, including one called Kv1.3.
In this research, the researchers compared different types of smooth muscle cells found in mouse aortas, to determine the characteristics of the normal cells and those that proliferate heavily, potentially leading to scarring. One particular type of potassium channel (called Kv1.3) was found to be involved in the change of smooth muscle cells to the type that could reproduce. This channel was active and abundant within the smooth muscle cells in vessels, and was highly concentrated in scarred human veins. Then researchers exposed the cultured cells to margatoxin and correolide compound C, both of which can block the Kv1.3 potassium channels, reduced their response to injury.
However, this early research has not tested the effects of the toxin in live animals. The lead researcher also says that the toxin would not be suitable in an oral, injectable or inhalable treatment anyway. So, there is more work to be done before reaching to the results.