The effect of scorpion venom on human internal organs

Scorpion venom is primarily aimed at blocking activity in other arthropods; consequently it is generally harmless to humans, and a sting can only produce localized effects

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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The effect of scorpion venom on human internal organs

Scorpion venom is mainly used to capture prey and is made up of complex mixtures of neurotoxins, mainly made up of proteins and sodium and potassium cations; each species has its own unique blend. Scorpion venom is primarily aimed at blocking activity in other arthropods; consequently it is generally harmless to humans, and a sting can only produce localized effects.

However, some scorpions, mainly of the Butidae family, can be very dangerous for humans. According to G.A.Polis, only eight genera, all Butidae, include species lethal to humans. Among the most dangerous species are Leiurus quinquestriatus, which has the most potent venom of its family, and members of the genera Parabuthus, Tityus and Androctonus.

The venom of these scorpions has in rare cases proven lethal as these animals are generally unable to inoculate sufficient venom to kill a healthy adult.

The effect of scorpion venom on human internal organs

The study: EFFECT OF SCORPION VENOM TOXINS ON STRUCTURAL AND FUNCTIONAL PARAMETERS OF INTERNAL ORGANS, INCLUDING KIDNEYS (REVIEW), published on the Wiadomości lekarskie, explained: "We aim to establish patterns of structural and functional changes in internal organs, including kidneys, under the conditions of exposure to scorpion venom toxins.

A thorough literature analysis was conducted on the basis of PubMed, Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Scopus databases. When processing the search results, we chose the newest publications up to 5 years old or the most thorough publications that vividly described the essence of our topic.

The venom of various species of scorpions exhibits a wide range of biological activity. Acting on the structures of the central and peripheral nervous system, the toxins of scorpion venom cause the development of paralysis, convulsions, brain inflammation, hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes.

Under conditions of influence on the cardiovascular system, damage to the endothelial lining of the vascular wall, disturbances in heart rhythm, conduction, and the development of destructive changes in the myocardium are characteristic.

Data on kidney damage due to scorpion bites require a more detailed study, as information on microscopic and submicroscopic changes in the structure of the organ is too limited. However, cases of the development of tubular necrosis, interstitial nephritis, and kidney infarction are currently known."