Essay 12: On Possible Uses of Scorpion Venom

Scorpions are Arachnids belonging to the order Scorpiones. Of the 1,750 known species, only 25 are capable of killing a human being. This may still seem like a lot, but many of these would only kill the very young and the very old. Their venom is a cocktail of various neurotoxins and enzyme inhibitors, designed for a wide variety of victims. Despite the obvious dangers of scorpion venom, there are possible human uses which may pose great benefits for mankind.

Chlorotoxin, a 36-amino acid peptide found in Leiurus quinquestriatus (the Deathstalker scorpion), has the potential to treat cancerous tumors, because it binds with glioma (tumor) cells. Maurotoxin, a 34-amino acid peptide of Scorpio maurus (the large clawed scorpion), may be able to treat certain autoimmune diseases as an immunosuppressant, such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflamatory bowel disease, and multiple sclerosis. Meucin-13 and meucin-18, found in Mesobuthus eupeus (the lesser Asian scorpion), destroy microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, and yeasts by a process known as cytolysis, in which cells literally explode due to an osmotic imbalance within the them. Meucin-24 and meucin-25, also from Mesobuthus eupeus, both target two different types of malaria parasites, those that attack rodents (Plasmodium berghei), and those that attack people (Plasmodium falciparum).

Scorpions are dangerous creatures, and should be respected. However, certain toxins in scorpion venom have the potential to be highly beneficial. One day they may widely treat cancer, autoimmune diseases, and malaria.

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One thought on “Essay 12: On Possible Uses of Scorpion Venom

  1. Pingback: Essay 16: Aquatic Osmoregulators | supererling

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