Publications by authors named "Gisele Picolo"

26 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Box Jellyfish (Cnidaria, Cubozoa) Extract Increases Neuron's Connection: A Possible Neuroprotector Effect.

Biomed Res Int 2021 4;2021:8855248. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Laboratório Multidisciplinar de Pesquisa, Universidade São Francisco, Bragança Paulista 12916-900, Brazil.

Neurodegenerative diseases are one of the major causes of death worldwide, characterized by neurite atrophy, neuron apoptosis, and synapse loss. No effective treatment has been indicated for such diseases so far, and the search for new drugs is being increased in the last years. Animal venoms' secretion/venom can be an alternative for the discovery of new molecules, which could be the prototype for a new treatment. Here, we present the biochemical characterization and activity of the extract from the box jellyfish () on neurites. The methanolic extract was obtained and incubated to human SH-SY5Y neurons, and neurite parameters were evaluated. The extract was tested in other cell types to check its cytotoxicity and was submitted to biochemical analysis by mass spectrometry in order to check its composition. We could verify that the extract increased neurite outgrowth length and branching junctions, amplifying the contact between SH-SY5Y neurons, without affecting cell body and viability. The extract action was selective for neurons, as it did not cause any effects on other cell types, such as tumor line, nontumor line, and red blood cells. Moreover, mass spectrometry analysis revealed that there are no proteins but several low molecular mass compounds and peptides. Three peptides, characterized as cryptides, and 14 low molecular mass compounds were found to be related to cytoskeleton reorganization, cell membrane expansion, and antioxidant/neuroprotective activity, which act together to increase neuritogenesis. After this evaluation, we conclude that the extract is a promising tool for neuronal connection recovery, an essential condition for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2021/8855248DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7954621PMC
March 2021

The Crotoxin:SBA-15 Complex Down-Regulates the Incidence and Intensity of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis Through Peripheral and Central Actions.

Front Immunol 2020 28;11:591563. Epub 2020 Oct 28.

Laboratory of Pain and Signaling, Butantan Institute, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Crotoxin (CTX), the main neurotoxin from snake venom, has anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and antinociceptive activities. However, the CTX-induced toxicity may compromise its use. Under this scenario, the use of nanoparticle such as nanostructured mesoporous silica (SBA-15) as a carrier might become a feasible approach to improve CTX safety. Here, we determined the benefits of SBA-15 on CTX-related neuroinflammatory and immunomodulatory properties during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis that replicates several histopathological and immunological features observed in humans. We showed that a single administration of CTX:SBA-15 (54 μg/kg) was more effective in reducing pain and ameliorated the clinical score (motor impairment) in EAE animals compared to the CTX-treated EAE group; therefore, improving the disease outcome. Of interest, CTX:SBA-15, but not unconjugated CTX, prevented EAE-induced atrophy and loss of muscle function. Further supporting an immune mechanism, CTX:SBA-15 treatment reduced both recruitment and proliferation of peripheral Th17 cells as well as diminished IL-17 expression and glial cells activation in the spinal cord in EAE animals when compared with CTX-treated EAE group. Finally, CTX:SBA-15, but not unconjugated CTX, prevented the EAE-induced cell infiltration in the CNS. These results provide evidence that SBA-15 maximizes the immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects of CTX in an EAE model; therefore, suggesting that SBA-15 has the potential to improve CTX effectiveness in the treatment of MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.591563DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7655790PMC
October 2020

Alterations of peripheral nerve excitability in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis mouse model for multiple sclerosis.

J Neuroinflammation 2020 Sep 7;17(1):266. Epub 2020 Sep 7.

Université Paris-Saclay, CEA, Département Médicaments et Technologies pour la Santé (DMTS), Service d'Ingénierie Moléculaire pour la Santé (SIMoS), ERL CNRS 9004, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.

Background: Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is the most commonly used and clinically relevant murine model for human multiple sclerosis (MS), a demyelinating autoimmune disease characterized by mononuclear cell infiltration into the central nervous system (CNS). The aim of the present study was to appraise the alterations, poorly documented in the literature, which may occur at the peripheral nervous system (PNS) level.

Methods: To this purpose, a multiple evaluation of peripheral nerve excitability was undertaken, by means of a minimally invasive electrophysiological method, in EAE mice immunized with the myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) 35-55 peptide, an experimental model for MS that reproduces, in animals, the anatomical and behavioral alterations observed in humans with MS, including CNS inflammation, demyelination of neurons, and motor abnormalities. Additionally, the myelin sheath thickness of mouse sciatic nerves was evaluated using transmission electronic microscopy.

Results: As expected, the mean clinical score of mice, daily determined to describe the symptoms associated to the EAE progression, increased within about 18 days after immunization for EAE mice while it remained null for all control animals. The multiple evaluation of peripheral nerve excitability, performed in vivo 2 and 4 weeks after immunization, reveals that the main modifications of EAE mice, compared to control animals, are a decrease of the maximal compound action potential (CAP) amplitude and of the stimulation intensity necessary to generate a CAP with a 50% maximum amplitude. In addition, and in contrast to control mice, at least 2 CAPs were recorded following a single stimulation in EAE animals, reflecting various populations of sensory and motor nerve fibers having different CAP conduction speeds, as expected if a demyelinating process occurred in the PNS of these animals. In contrast, single CAPs were always recorded from the sensory and motor nerve fibers of control mice having more homogeneous CAP conduction speeds. Finally, the myelin sheath thickness of sciatic nerves of EAE mice was decreased 4 weeks after immunization when compared to control animals.

Conclusions: In conclusion, the loss of immunological self-tolerance to MOG in EAE mice or in MS patients may not be only attributed to the restricted expression of this antigen in the immunologically privileged environment of the CNS but also of the PNS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12974-020-01936-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7487851PMC
September 2020

Early exposure to environmental enrichment protects male rats against neuropathic pain development after nerve injury.

Exp Neurol 2020 10 27;332:113390. Epub 2020 Jun 27.

Laboratory of Pain and Signaling, Butantan Institute, Av. Vital Brasil, 1500, São Paulo, Brazil. Electronic address:

Because environmental elements modify chronic pain development and endogenous mechanisms of pain control are still a great therapeutic source, we investigated the effects of an early exposure to environmental enrichment (EE) in a translational model of neuropathic pain. Young male rats born and bred in an enriched environment, which did not count on running wheel, underwent chronic constriction injury (CCI) of sciatic nerve. EE abolished neuropathic pain behavior 14 days after CCI. Opioid receptors' antagonism reversed EE-analgesic effect. β-endorphin and met-enkephalin serum levels were increased only in EE-CCI group. Blockade of glucocorticoid receptors did not alter EE-analgesic effect, although corticosterone circulating levels were increased in EE animals. In the spinal cord, EE controlled CCI-induced serotonin increase. In DRG, EE blunted the expression of ATF-3 after CCI. Surprisingly, EE-CCI group showed a remarkable preservation of sciatic nerve fibers compared to NE-CCI group. This work demonstrated global effects induced by an EE protocol that explain, in part, the protective role of EE upon chronic noxious stimulation, reinforcing the importance of endogenous mechanisms in the prevention of chronic pain development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.expneurol.2020.113390DOI Listing
October 2020

NFKF is a synthetic fragment derived from rat hemopressin that protects mice from neurodegeneration.

Neurosci Lett 2020 03 28;721:134765. Epub 2020 Jan 28.

Department of Pharmacology, Biomedical Sciences Institute, University of São Paulo, 05508-900, São Paulo, Brazil. Electronic address:

Previous studies suggested the pharmacological potential of rat hemopressin (PVNFKFLSH) and its shorter synthetic peptide NFKF, to protect from pilocarpine-induced seizures in mice. Orally administered NFKF was shown to be hundred times more potent than cannabidiol in delaying the first seizure induced by pilocarpine in mice. Here, using an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of multiple sclerosis we have shown that C57BL/6 J mice orally administrated with NFKF (500 μg/kg) presented better EAE clinical scores and improved locomotor activity compared to saline administrated control mice. NFKF blocked the production of IL-1beta and IL-6, and has high scores binding cannabinoid type 2 receptors. Therefore, NFKF is an exciting new possibility to neurodegenerative diseases therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2020.134765DOI Listing
March 2020

Crotoxin Conjugated to SBA-15 Nanostructured Mesoporous Silica Induces Long-Last Analgesic Effect in the Neuropathic Pain Model in Mice.

Toxins (Basel) 2019 11 20;11(12). Epub 2019 Nov 20.

Special Laboratory of Pain and Signalling, Butantan Institute, São Paulo 05503-900, Brazil.

Neuropathic pain is a disease caused by structural and functional plasticity in central and peripheral sensory pathways that produce alterations in nociceptive processing. Currently, pharmacological treatment for this condition remains a challenge. Crotoxin (CTX), the main neurotoxin of Crotalus durissus terrificus rattlesnake venom, has well described prolonged anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities. In spite of its potential benefits, the toxicity of CTX remains a limiting factor for its use. SBA-15 is an inert nanostructured mesoporous silica that, when used as a vehicle, may reduce toxicity and potentiate the activity of different compounds. Based on this, we propose to conjugate crotoxin with SBA-15 (CTX:SBA-15) in order to investigate if when adsorbed to silica, CTX would have its toxicity reduced and its analgesic effect enhanced in neuropathic pain induced by the partial sciatic nerve ligation (PSNL) model. SBA-15 enabled an increase of 35% of CTX dosage. Treatment with CTX:SBA-15 induced a long-lasting reduction of mechanical hypernociception, without modifying the previously known pathways involved in antinociception. Moreover, CTX:SBA-15 reduced IL-6 and increased IL-10 levels in the spinal cord. Surprisingly, the antinociceptive effect of CTX:SBA-15 was also observed after oral administration. These data indicate the potential use of the CTX:SBA-15 complex for neuropathic pain control and corroborates the protective potential of SBA-15.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/toxins11120679DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6949982PMC
November 2019

Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Signaling Mediates Morphine Induced-Delayed Hyperalgesia.

Front Neurosci 2019 20;13:1018. Epub 2019 Sep 20.

Laboratório Especial de Dor e Sinalização, Instituto Butantan, São Paulo, Brazil.

The use of morphine, the standard opioid drug, is limited by its undesirable effects, such as tolerance, physical dependence, and hyperalgesia (increased pain sensitivity). Clinical and preclinical studies have reported development of hyperalgesia after prolonged opioid administration or after a single dose of intrathecal (i.t.) morphine in uninjured rats. However, whether a single standard systemic morphine dose is sufficient to decrease the nociceptive threshold in rats is unknown. Here, we showed that a single morphine subcutaneous injection induces analgesia followed by a long-lasting delayed hyperalgesia in uninjured and PGE2 sensitized rats. The i.t injection of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) inhibitor blocked morphine-induced analgesia, without interfering with the morphine-induced hyperalgesia. However, i.t. injection of SB20358, a p38 inhibitor and SP660125, a JNK inhibitor, decreased the morphine-induced hyperalgesia. Consistently with the behavioral data, Western Blot analysis showed that ERK is more phosphorylated 1 h after morphine, i.e., when the analgesia is detected. Moreover, phospho-p38 and phospho-JNK levels are upregulated 96 h after morphine injection, time that coincides with the hyperalgesic effect. Intrathecal (i.t.) oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) antisense to cAMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB) attenuated morphine-induced hyperalgesia. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis showed that CREB downstream genes expressions were significantly up-regulated 96 h after morphine injection in spinal cord. Together, our data suggest that central ERK is involved in the analgesic and hyperalgesic effects of morphine while JNK, p38, and CREB are involved in the morphine-induced delayed hyperalgesia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2019.01018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6763729PMC
September 2019

Pharmacological characterization of crotamine effects on mice hind limb paralysis employing both ex vivo and in vivo assays: Insights into the involvement of voltage-gated ion channels in the crotamine action on skeletal muscles.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2018 08 6;12(8):e0006700. Epub 2018 Aug 6.

Departamento de Farmacologia, Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM), Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil.

The high medical importance of Crotalus snakes is unquestionable, as this genus is the second in frequency of ophidian accidents in many countries, including Brazil. With a relative less complex composition compared to other genera venoms, as those from the Bothrops genus, the Crotalus genus venom from South America is composed basically by the neurotoxin crotoxin (a phospholipase A2), the thrombin-like gyroxin (a serinoprotease), a very potent aggregating protein convulxin, and a myotoxic polypeptide named crotamine. Interestingly not all Crotalus snakes express crotamine, which was first described in early 50s due to its ability to immobilize animal hind limbs, contributing therefore to the physical immobilization of preys and representing an important advantage for the envenoming efficacy, and consequently, for the feeding and survival of these snakes in nature. Representing about 10-25% of the dry weight of the crude venom of crotamine-positive rattlesnakes, the polypeptide crotamine is also suggested to be of importance for antivenom therapy, although the contribution of this toxin to the main symptoms of envenoming process remains far unknown until now. Herein, we concomitantly performed in vitro and in vivo assays to show for the first time the dose-dependent response of crotamine-triggered hind limbs paralysis syndrome, up to now believed to be observable only at high (sub-lethal) concentrations of crotamine. In addition, ex vivo assay performed with isolated skeletal muscles allowed us to suggest here that compounds active on voltage-sensitive sodium and/or potassium ion channels could both affect the positive inotropic effect elicited by crotamine in isolated diaphragm, besides also affecting the hind limbs paralysis syndrome imposed by crotamine in vivo. By identifying the potential molecular targets of this toxin, our data may contribute to open new roads for translational studies aiming to improve the snakebite envenoming treatment in human. Interestingly, we also demonstrate that the intraplantal or intraperitoneal (ip) injections of crotamine in mice do not promote pain. Therefore, this work may also suggest the profitable utility of non-toxic analogs of crotamine as a potential tool for targeting voltage-gated ion channels in skeletal muscles, aiming its potential use in the therapy of neuromuscular dysfunctions and envenoming therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0006700DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6095621PMC
August 2018

Secreted Phospholipases A₂ from Animal Venoms in Pain and Analgesia.

Toxins (Basel) 2017 12 19;9(12). Epub 2017 Dec 19.

Laboratory of Pain and Signaling, Butantan Institute, Av. Vital Brasil, 1500, 05503-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Animal venoms comprise a complex mixture of components that affect several biological systems. Based on the high selectivity for their molecular targets, these components are also a rich source of potential therapeutic agents. Among the main components of animal venoms are the secreted phospholipases A₂ (sPLA₂s). These PLA₂ belong to distinct PLA₂s groups. For example, snake venom sPLA₂s from Elapidae and Viperidae families, the most important families when considering envenomation, belong, respectively, to the IA and IIA/IIB groups, whereas bee venom PLA₂ belongs to group III of sPLA₂s. It is well known that PLA₂, due to its hydrolytic activity on phospholipids, takes part in many pathophysiological processes, including inflammation and pain. Therefore, secreted PLA₂s obtained from animal venoms have been widely used as tools to (a) modulate inflammation and pain, uncovering molecular targets that are implicated in the control of inflammatory (including painful) and neurodegenerative diseases; (b) shed light on the pathophysiology of inflammation and pain observed in human envenomation by poisonous animals; and, (c) characterize molecular mechanisms involved in inflammatory diseases. The present review summarizes the knowledge on the nociceptive and antinociceptive actions of sPLA₂s from animal venoms, particularly snake venoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/toxins9120406DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5744126PMC
December 2017

Peripheral 5-HT3 Receptors Are Involved in the Antinociceptive Effect of Bunodosine 391.

Toxins (Basel) 2017 12 27;10(1). Epub 2017 Dec 27.

Laboratory of Pain and Signaling, Butantan Institute, Av. Vital Brasil, 1500, 05503-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Bunodosine 391 (BDS 391), a low molecular weight compound isolated from the sea anemone , increases the nociceptive threshold and inhibits inflammatory hyperalgesia. Serotonin receptors are involved in those effects. In this study, we have expanded the characterization of the antinociceptive effect of BDS 391 demonstrating that, in rats: (a) the compound inhibits (1.2-12 ng/paw) overt pain, in the formalin test, and mechanical hyperalgesia (0.6-6.0 ng/paw) detected in a model of neuropathic pain; (b) intraplantar administration of ondansetron, a selective 5-HT3 receptor antagonist, blocks the effect of BDS 391, whereas ketanserin, a 5-HT2 receptor antagonist, partially reversed this effect, indicating the involvement of peripheral 5-HT2 and 5-HT3 receptors in BDS 391 antinociception; and (c) in binding assay studies, BDS 391 was not able to displace the selective 5-HT receptor antagonists, suggesting that this compound does not directly bind to these receptors. The effect of biguanide, a selective 5-HT3 receptor agonist, was also evaluated. The agonist inhibited the formalin's nociceptive response, supporting an antinociceptive role for 5-HT3 receptors. Our study is the first one to show that a non-peptidic low molecular weight compound obtained from a sea anemone is able to induce antinociception and that activation of peripheral 5-HT3 receptors contributes to this effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/toxins10010012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793099PMC
December 2017

Distinct environmental enrichment protocols reduce anxiety but differentially modulate pain sensitivity in rats.

Behav Brain Res 2019 05 11;364:442-446. Epub 2017 Nov 11.

Laboratório Especial de Dor e Sinalização, Instituto Butantan, São Paulo, SP, Brazil. Electronic address:

Environmental enrichment (EE) can alter anxiety as well as perception of nociceptive stimuli, suggesting a relationship between well-being and analgesia. Considering that, we aimed to evaluate the influence of different EE types on anxiety and peripheral pain sensitivity of male Wistar rats. Animals were submitted to two different types of EE: On the first one, animals were housed in standard size cages after weaning and received three different objects, one type per week, on a regular basis (simple EE - sEE). On the second one, animals were born in an already enriched environment and, after five weeks, were housed in larger cages and received five different objects, three of each type per week, on a regular basis (improved EE - iEE). Control group remained in standard cages and did not receive objects. Within 7 weeks of life, anxiety and thermal sensibility were evaluated using elevated plus maze and tail flick tests, respectively. Mechanical hyperalgesia was analyzed in the presence of acute and chronic noxious stimuli by paw pressure test. Both EE protocols tested were effective in diminish anxiety but they did not alter thermal sensibility. On the other hand, sEE protocol did not alter acute and chronic induced mechanical hypersensitivity, whereas iEE completely abolished such pain behavior, even without exercise wheel as part of the enrichment. Our results show that specific parameters (anxiety and pain sensitivity) can be differentially modulated depending on EE protocol used, making possible the implementation of welfare to experimental animals in pain research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2017.11.012DOI Listing
May 2019

Articular inflammation induced by an enzymatically-inactive Lys49 phospholipase A: activation of endogenous phospholipases contributes to the pronociceptive effect.

J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis 2017 23;23:18. Epub 2017 Mar 23.

Special Laboratory of Pain and Signaling, Butantan Institute, Av. Vital Brazil, 1500, São Paulo, SP CEP 05503-900 Brazil.

Background: Arthritis is a set of inflammatory conditions that induce aching, stiffness, swelling, pain and may cause functional disability with severe consequences to the patient's lives. These are multi-mediated pathologies that cannot be effectively protected and/or treated. Therefore, the aim of this study was to establish a new model of acute arthritis, using a Lys49-PLA ( myotoxin II; MT-II) to induce articular inflammation.

Methods: The articular inflammation was induced by MT-II (10 μg/joint) injection into the left tibio-tarsal or femoral-tibialpatellar joints. Cellular influx was evaluated counting total and differential cells that migrated to the joint. The plasma extravasation was determined using Evans blue dye. The edematogenic response was evaluated measuring the joint thickness using a caliper. The articular hypernociception was determined by a dorsal flexion of the tibio-tarsal joint using an electronic pressure-meter test. The mediators involved in the articular hypernociception were evaluated using receptor antagonists and enzymatic inhibitors.

Results: Plasma extravasation in the knee joints was observed 5 and 15 min after MT-II (10 μg/joint) injection. MT-II also induced a polymorphonuclear cell influx into the femoral-tibial-patellar joints observed 8 h after its injection, a period that coincided with the peak of the hyperalgesic effect. Hyperalgesia was inhibited by the pretreatment of the animals with cyclooxygenase inhibitor indomethacin, with type-2 cyclooxygenase inhibitor celecoxib, with AACOCF and PACOCF inhibitors of cytosolic and Ca-independent PLAs, respectively, with bradykinin B receptor antagonist HOE 140, with antibodies against TNFα, IL-1β, IL-6 and CINC-1 and with selective ET-A (BQ-123) and ET-B (BQ-788) endothelin receptors antagonists. The MT-II-induced hyperalgesia was not altered by the lipoxygenase inhibitor zileuton, by the bradykinin B receptor antagonist Lys-(Des-Arg9,Leu8)-bradykinin, by the histamine and serotonin antagonists promethazine and methysergide, respectively, by the nitric oxide inhibitor LNMMA and by the inhibitor of matrix 1-, 2-, 3-, 8- and 9- metalloproteinases GM6001 (Ilomastat).

Conclusion: These results demonstrated the multi-mediated characteristic of the articular inflammation induced by MT-II, which demonstrates its relevance as a model for arthritis mechanisms and treatment evaluation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40409-017-0104-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5364601PMC
March 2017

Crotalphine desensitizes TRPA1 ion channels to alleviate inflammatory hyperalgesia.

Pain 2016 11;157(11):2504-2516

Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nurnberg, Erlangen, Germany.

Crotalphine is a structural analogue to a novel analgesic peptide that was first identified in the crude venom from the South American rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus. Although crotalphine's analgesic effect is well established, its direct mechanism of action remains unresolved. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of crotalphine on ion channels in peripheral pain pathways. We found that picomolar concentrations of crotalphine selectively activate heterologously expressed and native TRPA1 ion channels. TRPA1 activation by crotalphine required intact N-terminal cysteine residues and was followed by strong and long-lasting desensitization of the channel. Homologous desensitization of recombinant TRPA1 and heterologous desensitization in cultured dorsal root ganglia neurons was observed. Likewise, crotalphine acted on peptidergic TRPA1-expressing nerve endings ex vivo as demonstrated by suppression of calcitonin gene-related peptide release from the trachea and in vivo by inhibition of chemically induced and inflammatory hypersensitivity in mice. The crotalphine-mediated desensitizing effect was abolished by the TRPA1 blocker HC030031 and absent in TRPA1-deficient mice. Taken together, these results suggest that crotalphine is the first peptide to mediate antinociception selectively and at subnanomolar concentrations by targeting TRPA1 ion channels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000669DOI Listing
November 2016

Periaqueductal gray μ and κ opioid receptors determine behavioral selection from maternal to predatory behavior in lactating rats.

Behav Brain Res 2014 Nov 10;274:62-72. Epub 2014 Aug 10.

Department of Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of São Paulo, Avenida Professor Doutor Orlando Marques de Paiva, 87, São Paulo, SP CEP 05508-270, Brazil. Electronic address:

Every mother must optimize her time between caring for her young and her subsistence. The rostro lateral portion of the periaqueductal grey (rlPAG) is a critical site that modulates the switch between maternal and predatory behavior. Opioids play multiple roles in both maternal behavior and this switching process. The present study used a pharmacological approach to evaluate the functional role of rlPAG μ and κ opioid receptors in behavioral selection. Rat dams were implanted with a guide cannula in the rlPAG and divided into three experiments in which we tested the role of opioid agonists (Experiment 1), the influence of μ and κ opioid receptor blockade in the presence of morphine (Experiment 2), and the influence of μ and κ opioid receptor blockade (Experiment 3). After behavioral test, in Experiment 4, we evaluated rlPAG μ and κ receptor activation in all Experiments 1-3. The results showed that massive opioidergic activation induced by morphine in the rlPAG inhibited maternal behavior without interfering with predatory hunting. No behavioral changes and no receptor activation were promoted by the specific agonist alone. However, κ receptor blockade increased hunting behavior and increased the level of μ receptor activation in the rlPAG. Thus, endogenous opioidergic tone might be modulated by a functional interaction between opioid receptor subtypes. Such a compensatory receptor interaction appears to be relevant for behavioral selection among motivated behaviors. These findings indicate a role for multiple opioid receptor interactions in the modulation of behavioral selection between maternal and predatory behaviors in the PAG.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2014.08.008DOI Listing
November 2014

Peripheral kappa and delta opioid receptors are involved in the antinociceptive effect of crotalphine in a rat model of cancer pain.

Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2013 Aug 28;109:1-7. Epub 2013 Apr 28.

Laboratório Especial de Dor e Sinalização e Laboratório de Fisiopatologia, Instituto Butantan, Av. Vital Brazil 1500, 05503-900 Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Cancer pain is an important clinical problem and may not respond satisfactorily to the current analgesic therapy. We have characterized a novel and potent analgesic peptide, crotalphine, from the venom of the South American rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus. In the present work, the antinociceptive effect of crotalphine was evaluated in a rat model of cancer pain induced by intraplantar injection of Walker 256 carcinoma cells. Intraplantar injection of tumor cells caused the development of hyperalgesia and allodynia, detected on day 5 after tumor cell inoculation. Crotalphine (6 μg/kg), administered p.o., blocked both phenomena. The antinociceptive effect was detected 1 h after treatment and lasted for up to 48 h. Intraplantar injection of nor-binaltorphimine (50 g/paw), a selective antagonist of κ-opioid receptors, antagonized the antinociceptive effect of the peptide, whereas N,N-diallyl-Tyr-Aib-Phe-Leu (ICI 174,864, 10 μg/paw), a selective antagonist of δ-opioid receptors, partially reversed this effect. On the other hand, D-Phe-Cys-Tyr-D-Trp-Orn-Thr-Pen-Thr amide (CTOP, 20 g/paw), an antagonist of μ-opioid receptors, did not modify crotalphine-induced antinociception. These data indicate that crotalphine induces a potent and long lasting opioid-mediated antinociception in cancer pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2013.04.012DOI Listing
August 2013

The peripheral L-arginine-nitric oxide-cyclic GMP pathway and ATP-sensitive K⁺ channels are involved in the antinociceptive effect of crotalphine on neuropathic pain in rats.

Behav Pharmacol 2012 Feb;23(1):14-24

Special Laboratory of Pain and Signaling, Butantan Institute, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Crotalphine, a 14 amino acid peptide first isolated from the venom of the South American rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus, induces a peripheral long-lasting and opioid receptor-mediated antinociceptive effect in a rat model of neuropathic pain induced by chronic constriction of the sciatic nerve. In the present study, we further characterized the molecular mechanisms involved in this effect, determining the type of opioid receptor responsible for this effect and the involvement of the nitric oxide-cyclic GMP pathway and of K⁺ channels. Crotalphine (0.2 or 5 μg/kg, orally; 0.0006 μg/paw), administered on day 14 after nerve constriction, inhibited mechanical hyperalgesia and low-threshold mechanical allodynia. The effect of the peptide was antagonized by intraplantar administration of naltrindole, an antagonist of δ-opioid receptors, and partially reversed by norbinaltorphimine, an antagonist of κ-opioid receptors. The effect of crotalphine was also blocked by 7-nitroindazole, an inhibitor of the neuronal nitric oxide synthase; by 1H-(1,2,4) oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxaline-1-one, an inhibitor of guanylate cyclase activation; and by glibenclamide, an ATP-sensitive K⁺ channel blocker. The results suggest that peripheral δ-opioid and κ-opioid receptors, the nitric oxide-cyclic GMP pathway, and ATP-sensitive K⁺ channels are involved in the antinociceptive effect of crotalphine. The present data point to the therapeutic potential of this peptide for the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/FBP.0b013e32834eafbcDOI Listing
February 2012

Pain and analgesia: The dual effect of nitric oxide in the nociceptive system.

Nitric Oxide 2011 Oct 24;25(3):243-54. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Special Laboratory of Pain and Signaling, Butantan Institute, Vital Brazil Avenida, 1500, 05503-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Nitric oxide (NO) is involved in many physiological processes and several lines of evidence have indicated that NO plays a complex and diverse role in the modulation of pain. Nitric oxide is an important neurotransmitter involved in the nociceptive process and, in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, it contributes to the development of central sensitization. On the other hand, experimental data have also demonstrated that NO inhibits nociception in the peripheral and also in the central nervous system. In addition, it has been shown that nitric oxide mediates the analgesic effect of opioids and other analgesic substances. The information included in the present review aims to present and analyze data about the dual effect of NO on pain transmission and control, the molecular mechanisms involved in these effects and also the potential use of nitric oxide in pain therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.niox.2011.06.004DOI Listing
October 2011

Bunodosine 391: an analgesic acylamino acid from the venom of the sea anemone Bunodosoma cangicum.

J Nat Prod 2011 Mar 10;74(3):378-82. Epub 2011 Feb 10.

Biotechnology Center, Nuclear and Energy Research Institute, São Paulo 05508-000, Brazil.

A new acylamino acid, bunodosine 391 (BDS 391), was isolated from the venom of the sea anemone Bunodosoma cangicum. The structure was elucidated by spectroscopic analyses (2D NMR, ESIMS/MS) and verified by its synthesis. Intraplantar injection of BDS 391 into the hind paw of a rat induced a potent analgesic effect. This effect was not altered by naloxone (an opioid receptor antagonist), but was completely reversed by methysergide (a serotonin receptor antagonist), indicating that the effect is mediated by activation of serotonin receptors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/np100738mDOI Listing
March 2011

Bradykinin-related peptides in the venom of the solitary wasp Cyphononyx fulvognathus.

Biochem Pharmacol 2010 Feb 27;79(3):478-86. Epub 2009 Aug 27.

Laboratory of Pathophysiology, Butantan Institute, São Paulo, SP 05503-900, Brazil.

Bradykinin (BK) and its related peptides are widely distributed in venomous animals, including wasps. In fact, we have previously purified a novel BK-related peptide (BRP) named Cd-146 and the threonine(6)-bradykinin (Thr(6)-BK) from the venom of the solitary wasp Cyphononyx fulvognathus. Further survey of this same wasp venom extract allowed the structural characterization of two other novel BRPs, named here as fulvonin and cyphokinin. Biochemical characterization performed here showed that although the high primary structure similarity observed with BK, these wasp peptides are not good substrates for angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) acting more likely as inhibitors of this enzyme. In pharmacological assays, only those more structurally similar to BK, namely cyphokinin and Thr(6)-BK, were able to promote the contraction of guinea-pig ileum smooth muscle preparations, which was completely blocked by the B(2) receptors antagonist HOE-140 in the same way as observed for BK. Only fulvonin was shown to potentiate BK-elicited smooth muscle contraction. Moreover, the 2 new wasp BRPs, namely fulvonin and cyphokinin, as well as Cd-146 and Thr(6)-BK, showed hyperalgesic effect in the rat paw pressure test after intraplantar injection. This effect was shown here to be due to the action of these peptides on BK receptors, since the hyperalgesia induced by both Cd-146 and fulvonin was blocked by B(1) receptor antagonist, while the effect of both cyphokinin and Thr(6)-BK was reversed by B(2) antagonist. This data give support to a better understanding of the function and targets of the kinin-related peptides widely found in several insect venoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2009.08.020DOI Listing
February 2010

Inflammation induced by Bothrops asper venom.

Toxicon 2009 Jul 27;54(1):67-76. Epub 2009 Mar 27.

Laboratório de Farmacologia, Instituto Butantan, Av. Vital Brazil, 1500 - CEP 05503-900 - Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Inflammation is a major characteristic of envenomation by snakes from viperine and crotaline species. Bothrops asper snake venom elicits, among other alterations, a pronounced inflammatory response at the site of injection both in humans and experimental animals. This review describes the current status of our understanding of the inflammatory reaction, including pain, triggered by Bothrops asper venom. The experimental studies on the action of this venom as well as the complex network of chemical mediators involved are summarized. Moreover, aspects of the molecular mechanisms orchestrating this important response to envenomation by Bothrops asper are presented. Considering that isolated toxins are relevant tools for understanding the actions of the whole venom, studies dealing with the mechanisms of inflammatory and nociceptive properties of phospholipases A(2), a metalloproteinase and serine-proteases isolated from Bothrops asper venom are also described.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.toxicon.2009.03.019DOI Listing
July 2009

The analgesic effect of crotoxin on neuropathic pain is mediated by central muscarinic receptors and 5-lipoxygenase-derived mediators.

Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2008 Dec 23;91(2):252-60. Epub 2008 Aug 23.

Laboratory of Pathophysiology, Butantan Institute, Vital Brazil Av., 1500, 05503-900, Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Crotoxin (CTX), a neurotoxin isolated from the venom of the South American rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus, induces analgesia. In this study, we evaluated the antinociceptive effect of CTX in a model of neuropathic pain induced by rat sciatic nerve transection. Hyperalgesia was detected 2 h after nerve transection and persisted for 64 days. Immersion of proximal and distal nerve stumps in CTX solution (0.01 mM for 10 s), immediately after nerve transection, blocked hyperalgesia. The antinociceptive effect of CTX was long-lasting, since it was detected 2 h after treatment and persisted for 64 days. CTX also delayed, but did not block, neurectomy-induced neuroma formation. The effect of CTX was blocked by zileuton (100 mg/kg, p.o.) and atropine (10 mg/kg, i.p.), and reduced by yohimbine (2 mg/kg, i.p.) and methysergide (5 mg/kg, i.p.). On the other hand, indomethacin (4 mg/kg, i.v.), naloxone (1 mg/kg, i.p.), and N-methyl atropine (30 mg/kg, i.p.) did not interfere with the effect of CTX. These results indicate that CTX induces a long-lasting antinociceptive effect in neuropathic pain, which is mediated by activation of central muscarinic receptors and partially, by activation of alpha-adrenoceptors and 5-HT receptors. Eicosanoids derived from the lipoxygenase pathway modulate the action of crotoxin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2008.08.016DOI Listing
December 2008

Crotalphine induces potent antinociception in neuropathic pain by acting at peripheral opioid receptors.

Eur J Pharmacol 2008 Oct 31;594(1-3):84-92. Epub 2008 Jul 31.

Laboratory of Pathophysiology, Butantan Institute, Av. Vital Brazil, 1500, 05503-900 Sao Paulo-SP, Brazil.

Neuropathic pain is an important clinical problem and it is usually resistant to the current therapy. We have recently characterized a novel analgesic peptide, crotalphine, from the venom of the South American rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus. In the present work, the antinociceptive effect of crotalphine was evaluated in an experimental model of neuropathic pain induced in rats by chronic constriction of sciatic nerve. The effect of the peptide was compared to that induced by the crude venom, which confirmed that crotalphine is responsible for the antinociceptive effect of the crotalid venom on neuropathic pain. For characterization of neuropathic pain, the presence of hyperalgesia, allodynia and spontaneous pain was assessed at different times after nerve constriction. These phenomena were detected 24 h after surgery and persisted at least for 14 days. The pharmacological treatments were performed on day 14 after surgery. Crotalphine (0.2-5 microg/kg) and the crude venom (400-1600 microg/kg) administered p.o. inhibited hyperalgesia, allodynia and spontaneous pain induced by nerve constriction. The antinociceptive effect of the peptide and crude venom was long lasting, since it was detected up to 3 days after treatment. Intraplantar injection of naloxone (1 microg/paw) blocked the antinociceptive effect, indicating the involvement of opioid receptors in this phenomenon. Gabapentin (200 mg/kg, p.o.), and morphine (5 mg/kg, s.c.), used as positive controls, blocked hyperalgesia and partially inhibited allodynia induced by nerve constriction. These data indicate that crotalphine induces a potent and long lasting opioid antinociceptive effect in neuropathic pain that surpasses that observed with standard analgesic drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2008.07.053DOI Listing
October 2008

Crotalphine, a novel potent analgesic peptide from the venom of the South American rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus.

Peptides 2008 Aug 20;29(8):1293-304. Epub 2008 May 20.

Center for Applied Toxinology, Butantan Institute, Avenida Vital Brazil, 1500 São Paulo, SP 05503-900, Brazil.

We have shown that the venom of the South American rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus induces a long-lasting antinociceptive effect mediated by activation of kappa- and delta-opioid receptors. Despite being mediated by opioid receptors, prolonged treatment with the crotalid venom does not cause the development of peripheral tolerance or abstinence symptoms upon withdrawal. In the present study, we have isolated and chemically characterized a novel and potent antinociceptive peptide responsible for the oral opioid activity of this crotalid venom. The amino acid sequence of this peptide, designated crotalphine, was determined by mass spectrometry and corroborated by solid-phase synthesis to be
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.peptides.2008.04.003DOI Listing
August 2008

Animal toxins as analgesics--an overview.

Drug News Perspect 2006 Sep;19(7):381-92

Laboratory of Pathophysiology, Butantan Institute, São Paulo, Brazil.

Pain is a multidimensional sensory experience, and multiple mechanisms are involved in the generation of pathophysiological nociceptive pain. Identification of the mechanisms and molecular components responsible for pain generation has not only advanced our understanding of pain and its control, but has also led to the selection of new targets for designing novel analgesic drugs. The high selectivity and specificity of animal toxins have enabled their use as potential therapeutics in the treatment of pain and candidates for the development of new analgesic drugs. This review focuses on the use of animal toxins for pain control and examines the possible analgesic mechanisms of these molecules.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1358/dnp.2006.19.7.985940DOI Listing
September 2006

Peripheral neuronal nitric oxide synthase activity mediates the antinociceptive effect of Crotalus durissus terrificus snake venom, a delta- and kappa-opioid receptor agonist.

Life Sci 2004 Jun;75(5):559-73

Laboratório de Fisiopatologia, Instituto Butantan, Avenida Vital Brazil, 1500, 05503-900, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Previous work has shown that nitric oxide (NO) mediates the antinociceptive effect of Crotalus durissus terrificus venom on carrageenin-induced hyperalgesia. In the present study the role of constitutive neuronal or of inducible form of nitric oxide synthase on venom effect was determined. The rat paw prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2))-induced mechanical hyperalgesia model was used for nociceptive evaluation. The venom (200 microg/kg) administered per oz immediately before prostaglandin induced antinociception that persisted for 120 h. The characterisation of the antinociceptive effect of the venom in this model of hyperalgesia showed that kappa and delta-opioid receptors are involved in this effect. 7-nitroindazole (7-NI), a neuronal nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor, but not L-N(6)-(1-iminoethyl)lysine (L-NIL), an inhibitor of the inducible form of NOS, injected by intraplantar (i.pl.) route, antagonized the antinociceptive effect of the venom. The i.pl. administration of 1H-(1,2,4)oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxaline-1-one (ODQ), a selective guanylate cyclase inhibitor, blocked antinociception, whereas Rp-cGMP triethylamine, a cGMP-dependent protein kinase inhibitor, partially reversed this effect. These data indicate that peripheral kappa- and delta-opioid receptors are involved in the antinociceptive effect of Crotalus durissus terrificus on prostaglandin E(2)-induced hyperalgesia. Peripheral nitric oxide, generated by neuronal NO synthase, and cGMP/PKc are responsible, at least partially, for the molecular mechanisms of venom effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2003.12.024DOI Listing
June 2004

Activation of peripheral ATP-sensitive K+ channels mediates the antinociceptive effect of Crotalus durissus terrificus snake venom.

Eur J Pharmacol 2003 May;469(1-3):57-64

Laboratório de Fisiopatologia, Instituto Butantan, Avenida Vital Brazil, 1500, 05503-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

The role of peripheral potassium channels on the antinociceptive effect of Crotalus durissus terrificus venom, a mixed delta- and kappa-opioid receptor agonist, was investigated in hyperalgesia induced by carrageenin or prostaglandin E(2). Rat paw pressure test was applied before and 3 h after the intraplantar (i.pl.) injection of the nociceptive stimuli. Oral administration of venom 2 h after carrageenin or prostaglandin E(2) induces antinociception. Local pretreatment with 4-aminopyridine and tetraethylammonium (blockers of voltage-dependent K(+) channel) or charybdotoxin and apamin (inhibitors of large- and small-conductance Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channel, respectively) did not modify venom effect. On the other hand, glybenclamide, an inhibitor of ATP-sensitive K(+) channel abolished antinociception induced by the venom. Glybenclamide also inhibited the antinociceptive effect of [D-Pen(2.5)] enkephalin (DPDPE), a delta opioid receptor agonist, but did not modify the effect of (+)-trans-(1R,2R)-U-50488 (U50488), a kappa opioid receptor agonist. Diazoxide and pinacidil, two ATP-sensitive K(+) channel openers, injected by intraplantar route, induced a long-lasting increment of pain threshold of the animals and produced antinociception in both models of hyperalgesia. These results suggest that the antinociceptive effect of crotalid venom is mediated by activation of ATP-sensitive K(+) channels at peripheral afferent neurons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0014-2999(03)01676-5DOI Listing
May 2003