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Toxins 2014, 6(1), 108-151; doi:10.3390/toxins6010108

Cytotoxic and Cytolytic Cnidarian Venoms. A Review on Health Implications and Possible Therapeutic Applications

*  and
Department of Earth, Environment and Life Sciences, University of Genova, Viale Benedetto XV 5, Genova I-16132, Italy
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 November 2013 / Revised: 11 December 2013 / Accepted: 13 December 2013 / Published: 27 December 2013
(This article belongs to the collection Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
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The toxicity of Cnidaria is a subject of concern for its influence on human activities and public health. During the last decades, the mechanisms of cell injury caused by cnidarian venoms have been studied utilizing extracts from several Cnidaria that have been tested in order to evaluate some fundamental parameters, such as the activity on cell survival, functioning and metabolism, and to improve the knowledge about the mechanisms of action of these compounds. In agreement with the modern tendency aimed to avoid the utilization of living animals in the experiments and to substitute them with in vitro systems, established cell lines or primary cultures have been employed to test cnidarian extracts or derivatives. Several cnidarian venoms have been found to have cytotoxic properties and have been also shown to cause hemolytic effects. Some studied substances have been shown to affect tumour cells and microorganisms, so making cnidarian extracts particularly interesting for their possible therapeutic employment. The review aims to emphasize the up-to-date knowledge about this subject taking in consideration the importance of such venoms in human pathology, the health implications and the possible therapeutic application of these natural compounds.
Keywords: Cnidaria; venom; cytotoxicity; cell cultures Cnidaria; venom; cytotoxicity; cell cultures
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Mariottini, G.L.; Pane, L. Cytotoxic and Cytolytic Cnidarian Venoms. A Review on Health Implications and Possible Therapeutic Applications. Toxins 2014, 6, 108-151.

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