Scorpion Venom Research Around the World: Heterometrus Species

Living reference work entry


Scorpions are venomous, nocturnal, invertebrate (Arthropoda) arachnids and a living fossil. The scorpion genus Heterometrus belongs to the family Scorpionidae. There are 33 species of Heterometrus scorpion found throughout the world. Envenomation by Heterometrus species is frequent in Asian tropical countries during summer and monsoon time (May–October). Intense pain, burning sensation, redness, swelling, and hypotension are common clinical signs. The death reports regarding the scorpions sting are not available except for a few reports in children and infants. In India, no specific antiserum is available against Heterometrus venom, and symptomatic treatment is still provided to the victims. Pharmacological studies of venom showed that Heterometrus bengalensis venom caused hypotension,decreased respiratory rate,contracted several smooth muscle preparations, promoted the release of kinin and had indirect hemolytic effects. Heterometrus venom induced several metabolic changes (brain, liver enzyme) in animal studies. Heterometrus venom possesses several bioactive constituents, among which PLA2 enzyme, substance L, Toxin-HB, HsTX1, kappa-Hefutoxin 1, heteroscopin 1, Hp1090, HmTx, and HsAp have been reported. A rabbit anti-H. bengalensis venom has been reported to neutralize the lethal and neuromuscular actions of H. bengalensis venom. Certain herbal extracts showed neutralizing capacity against H. bengalensis venom in experimental models. Both Pluchea indica and Hemidesmus indicus root extract neutralized H. bengalensis venom’s lethal, neurotoxic actions in animal models. A protein toxin (Bengalin, MW 72 Kd) having cytotoxic activity against leukemic cells and anti-osteoporosis activity in female albino rats has been identified from H. bengalensis venom and shows promise for further drug development clues.


Venom Gland Scorpion Venom Crude Venom Male Albino Mouse Scorpion Sting 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Toxinology and Experimental Pharmacodynamics, Department of PhysiologyUniversity of CalcuttaKolkataIndia
  2. 2.Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (CSIR)KolkataIndia

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