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Effect of Apamin and Melittin on Ion Channels and Intracellular Calcium of Heart Cells

  • G. Bkaily
  • M. Simaan
  • D. Jaalouk
  • P. Pothier


Several toxins have been reported to be highly specific blockers of a single type of ionic channel. A good example of this is tetrodotoxin (TTX), a highly specific fast Na+− channel blocker1. Like TTX, scorpion toxins have become important tools for the study of Na+ channels2. However, different scorpion venoms have different types of action on this channel2–4. Saxotoxin (STX) was also reported to be a specific fast Na+ channel blocker1,5,6. Some natural toxins do not inhibit the fast Na+ channel but rather activate or open this type of channel. These include gonioporatoxin (GPT)7, batrachotoxin (BXT)8 and grayanotoxin (GTX)9. Several other types of toxins were found to be specific for different types of K+ channels. Examples are charybdotoxin (ChTX), apamin, dendrotoxin, noxiustoxin and gaboon viper venom10,11. Our laboratory, as well as others, reported that some toxins may specifically affect the L-type Ca2+ channels12 as well as the early embryonic fast transient (ft) slow Na+ channels13–15 in heart muscle. Another toxin, ω-conotoxin (ω-CgTx), was reported to block the L-type and N-type Ca2+ channels but with only transient inhibitory effects on T-type Ca2+ channels in neurons and not in heart muscle16. Maitotoxin (MTX) was found to activate a new class of voltage-independent Ca2+ channel or an entirely modified form of voltage-gated Ca2+ channel in heart cells17.


Heart Cell Spontaneous Contraction Ventricular Cell Scorpion Venom Scorpion Toxin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Bkaily
    • 1
  • M. Simaan
    • 1
  • D. Jaalouk
    • 1
  • P. Pothier
    • 1
  1. 1.MRCC Group in immuno-cardiovascular interactions Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology Faculty of MedicineUniversité de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada

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