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26-10-2010 | Cardiology | Article

Scorpion venom derivative may reduce CABG failure risk


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MedWire News: UK researchers suggest that margatoxin - a toxin found in scorpion venom - could one day be used to reduce the risk for graft failure among patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG).

The team found that the toxin, derived from the Central American bark scorpion Centruroides margaritatus, is at least 100 times as potent as any other known compound at inhibiting neointimal hyperplasia, a common cause of CABG failure.

Indeed, lead author David Beech (Leeds University) commented: "It's staggeringly potent. We're talking about needing very few molecules to obtain an effect."

Beech and colleagues also found other compounds with similar inhibitory effects, but "margatoxin was the most potent of all these compounds by a significant margin," he added.

As reported in the journal Cardiovascular Research, the team investigated the effects of three Kv1.3 potassium channels blockers: margatoxin, correolide compound C, and psora-4, on neointimal hyperplasia.

They cultured human and mouse vascular smooth muscle cells with each blocker for 48 hours.

All the blockers inhibited vascular smooth muscle cell migration typically seen in neointimal hyperplasia. Margatoxin however, produced a higher degree of Kv1.3 potassium channel inhibition and smooth muscle cell migration than the other blockers.

The researchers also observed an inhibition of neointimal hyperplasia when segments of human vein were isolated and treated with margatoxin and correolide compound C.

Further investigation is needed to determine the most effective way to administer margatoxin, but Beech suggested it could be sprayed directly onto the vein graft prior to CABG.

The researchers conclude that their findings "provide foundations for possible new cardiovascular therapies."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Lauretta Ihonor

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