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Discovery of a New Analgesic Peptide, Leptucin, from the Iranian Scorpion, Hemiscorpius lepturus

Abstract : Hemiscorpius lepturus scorpion stings do not induce considerable pain based on epidemiological surveys conducted in the southwest part of Iran. Accordingly, this study was aimed to identify the analgesic molecule in H. lepturus venom by analyzing a cDNA library of the scorpion venom gland looking for sequences having homology with known animal venom analgesic peptides. The analgesic molecule is a cysteine rich peptide of 55 amino acids. the synthetic peptide was deprotected and refolded. RP-HPLC, Ellman’s, and DLS assays confirmed the refolding accuracy. Circular dichroism (CD) showed helix and beta sheet contents. This peptide, called leptucin, demonstrated 95% analgesic activity at the dose of 0.48 mg/kg in hot plate assay. Leptucin at the doses of 0.32, 0.48, and 0.64 mg/kg showed 100% activity in thermal tail flick test. No hemolysis or cytotoxicity was observed at 8 and 16 μg. Histopathology evaluations indicated no hepatotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, and cardiotoxicity. We thus report that leptucin is the analgesic agent of H. lepturus venom. Regarding the high in vivo efficacy of leptucin and the fact it shows no observable toxicity, it could be suggested as a drug lead in a preclinical study of acute pain as well as the study of its mechanism of action.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 10:30:49 AM
Last modification on : Friday, April 1, 2022 - 3:49:16 AM

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Sedigheh Bagheri-Ziari, Delavar Shahbazzadeh, Soroush Sardari, Jean-Marc Sabatier, Kamran Pooshang Bagheri. Discovery of a New Analgesic Peptide, Leptucin, from the Iranian Scorpion, Hemiscorpius lepturus. Molecules, MDPI, 2021, 26 (9), pp.2580. ⟨10.3390/molecules26092580⟩. ⟨hal-03358018⟩

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