Scorpions belong to the group of animals that have four pairs of legs i.e. eight legs like spider crabs etc. A scorpion has two pincer hands and a tail that is curved in a certain way and has a stinger at the end of the tail. The evolutionary history of scorpions is four hundred and thirty-five million years old. They are mainly found in deserts. Nowadays, due to the environmental conditions, they have also made a wide range of plains their home and are present on all continents except Antarctica. They have more than two thousand five hundred species.
They generally feed on small insects etc. and are most active at night. The shell-like structure of the scorpion contains fluorite. That is, a special energy that can emit a special light by absorbing it. This energy can usually be given by ultraviolet rays and the vision can be seen to work. The scorpion’s venom, which is contained in the stinger at the end of its tail, is usually not fatal to humans.
Yet, according to national public health data, about one and a half million people suffer from scorpion stings worldwide, and vulnerable people or children lose their lives. Major regions of the world where scorpion stings occur in large numbers are mostly hot and humid regions such as Africa, Middle East, India, South America, etc. In many of these areas, climate change, along with urban sprawl and poor sanitation management, has increased the likelihood of encountering scorpions. Scorpions use their venom to defend against predators and capture their prey.
The composition of scorpion venom is highly complex and non-uniform. It is low in proteins or lipids and high in peptides while also containing inorganic and organic components. These ingredients are highly biologically active. This is the reason that a lot of research has been done on these nutrients and peptides and this work is of interest to pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology institutions. However, despite the fact that considerable research efforts are underway and the potential for therapeutics derived from scorpion venom components is very promising, chlorotoxin is the only component that has yet been moved to clinical trials. Currently, there is no medicine based on scorpion venom available in the market.
Scorpion venom compounds that have been the subject of research for potential uses and treatments. Some details about them are being described here. Scorpion venom usually consists of small and large toxins or plant poisons. Such as calcinin and some toxins affecting the nervous system. Enzymes present in venom include hyaluronidase, phospholipase and metalloprotease. When it comes to bacteria, antibiotic resistance has emerged in today’s era, where many bacteria have become ineffective against these drugs.
Therefore, botanical or non-botanical compounds that can kill these antibiotic-resistant bacteria and make treatment possible are being lost. Peptides obtained from scorpion venom are not only bactericidal but have also been shown to be effective against crop pests. Similar peptides have been discovered through various experimental experiments and reported in international journals. In their 2019 research paper, Carcamonurega and colleagues report the observation that a peptide from the venom of the scorpion Diplocentrus malici has the potential to be effective against multiple antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis bacteria.
Similarly, other species of scorpions have similar peptides in their venom. However, some of these peptides are cell-dissolving, leaving their usefulness as an effective disinfectant compound for further research and experimentation. The scorpion is also a microorganism and scorpion venom also contains anti-fungal components. Fungi called Candida are also resistant to antibiotics like bacteria. Stigmorin is a peptide in the venom of the scorpion Titus stagmorus that is active against various species of Candida fungi and may be effective in the treatment of diseases caused by this fungus.
Various viruses are also either neutralized or killed by the peptide present in scorpion venom. Similarly, for parasitic organisms, scorpion venom contains parasiticides. As against the tapeworm or its larvae, the venom of the scorpion named Garchi has proved to be very effective. This observation was made by Flores Solis and colleagues in their research paper published in 2016.
In addition, toxins that dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure have also been reported from scorpion venom. Toxins that suppress the immune response are also an attractive molecule for pharmaceutical companies to test as a target for a disease in which the body turns its immune system against itself. Scorpion stings usually cause extreme pain and discomfort, but some toxins, if isolated from the raw venom, are pain relieving. In the past ten years, at least twenty peptides have been identified in scorpion venom that have the ability to induce pain relief.
A peptide from the Androtonus morita nux scorpion called gonier cystide inhibits not only various cancers but also tumors from turning into cancer. All such research, where work is being done on toxic herbs, is focused on characterizing the isolated components of the venom, establishing manufacturing methods for new compounds, minimizing adverse effects. and to discover and implement new treatments for long-term therapy.
Here is described the most detailed information on scorpion venom that has been obtained in the last ten or fifteen years. Pakistan is also home to different types of scorpions. There are at least five families of scorpions with seventeen genera and fifty species in our country. Most of the scorpions are found in the desert and plains of Pakistan. Black and yellow scorpions are commonly found in Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions. They are available in both small and large sizes. The black scorpion, however, is larger, while the yellow scorpion is smaller in size.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, apart from these two colored scorpions, other colored scorpions are also found. Some of them are residents of hilly areas. Most of the research in Pakistan deals with the discovery and regional distribution of different species of scorpions. Research on scorpion venom is limited. The Yellow Scorpion, whose scientific name is Botus syndex, has various minor and major toxins reported from its venom. The anti-bacterial effect of the toxin or a peptide derived from it that has an anti-cancer or anti-tumor effect has been studied.
Apart from this, incidents of scorpion bites have also been reported in different parts of the country. Whatever research is being done at the international level, this type of research is needed in Pakistan. Scorpion venom is actually composed mainly of small peptides that affect different ion channels. These channels include potassium, sodium, calcium, and chloride ion channels. These channels are the cause of nerve impulses in the human body and many signals reaching the brain or coming from the brain cause the opening and closing of these channels. work from
This is the reason why such peptides can be very useful in many diseases or disorders that can be caused by these ion channels, because it is possible to treat such diseases through their use. Because the venom of the scorpion is not present in such a large quantity in its sting that it is necessary to carry out different research experiments. Therefore, a good quantity is obtained from the scorpions in the number of sectors and then the work is started.
The venom is quickly regenerated into the stinger and is useful for the scorpion in hunting and defense. Scorpions produce large numbers of offspring, as it is easy to find them in hundreds. After obtaining the venom, they can be released back into their habitat, thus maintaining the ecosystem, and the same scorpions can be caught and poisoned again. Not as much research has been done on scorpion venom as there is on snake venom or the lyme or peptide derived from the seeds of various plants. This is the reason why various medicines are available in the market which are made from a snake venom or a molecule derived from a plant.
Some of the peptides that have been shown to be effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria include amcarporin, stryporin, and vejovin, a toxin derived from scorpion venom. All three toxins are also potentially good molecules for pharmaceuticals. Thus, more attention is needed in the research on scorpion venom, as small plant molecules will replace antibiotics in the medical field in the near future.
Modern techniques and highly sensitive instruments have made it possible to separate any complex sample in its entirety, analyze each component and obtain all the information. A lot of work can be done in Pakistan. Since there are fifty species in our country, only a few scorpions have been studied. Therefore, there is a possibility that a new molecule may be discovered that may prove to be a cure for a neurological or infectious disease.