This study assessed the nociceptive and edematogenic activities of T. nattereri venom after injection into the mouse hindpaw and determination of the paw licking duration and weight.
Subplantar injections of the venom (0.1-6 microg) induced a dose-related increase of the paw licking time and paw swelling with maximal values at 3 microg (209.5 +/- 57.5 s and 135.0 +/- 6.8 mg, respectively). Pretreatment of mice with either indomethacin (10 mg/kg, i.p.), a cyclooxygenase inhibitor, dexamethasone (1 mg/kg, s.c.), a steroid anti-inflammatory agent, cyproheptadine (1 mg/kg, i.p.), antagonist of serotonin receptors or L-NAME (100 mg/kg, s.c.), inhibitor of nitric oxide syntase, did not affect the venom-induced nociceptive and edematogenic responses.
Injection of the opioid analgesic fentanyl (0.1 mg/kg, s.c.) reduced the paw licking time induced by 1 microg venom by 84% of control, without affecting the paw swelling.
Both nociceptive and edematogenic responses were reduced after treatment with a specific tissue kallikrein inhibitor (TKI, 100 mg/kg, i.p.) by 78% and 24% from control values, respectively.
Administration of a specific plasma kallikrein inhibitor (PKSI(527,) 100 mg/kg, s.c.) did not affect the venom-induced nociceptive response, but it decreased the paw edema by 15% from control.
After injection of the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor captopril (100 mg/kg, i.p.) the venom-induced nociceptive end edematogenic responses were increased by two-fold. The role of kallikreins possibly present in the venom was further assessed by hydrolysis of human kininogen and kininogen-derived synthetic peptides, showing the release of kallidin (Lys-bradykinin). The hydrolysis was inhibited by metal chelating agents but not by serino-, aspartyl- or cysteino-proteinase inhibitors.
The data suggest that a protease with tissue-kallikrein-like activity plays a major role in nociception and edema induced by T. nattereri venom and this should be considered to achieve efficient treatments for human accidents with this venom.