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Neuromuscular Activity of Micrurus laticollaris (Squamata: Elapidae) Venom in Vitro

Instituto de Biotecnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Av. Universidad 2001, Col. Chamilpa, Cuernavaca, Morelos, CP. 62210, Mexico
Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Tessália Vieira Camargo St., 126, Campinas, SP 13083-887, Brazil
Interdisciplinar Center for Biotechnology (CIPBiotec), Campus São Gabriel, Federal University of Pampa (UNIPAMPA), Antônio Trilha Av., 1847, São Gabriel, RS 97300-000, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2014, 6(1), 359-370;
Received: 25 October 2013 / Revised: 20 December 2013 / Accepted: 30 December 2013 / Published: 17 January 2014
PDF [657 KB, uploaded 20 January 2014]


In this work, we have examined the neuromuscular activity of Micrurus laticollaris (Mexican coral snake) venom (MLV) in vertebrate isolated nerve-muscle preparations. In chick biventer cervicis preparations, the MLV induced an irreversible concentration- and time-dependent (1–30 µg/mL) neuromuscular blockade, with 50% blockade occurring between 8 and 30 min. Muscle contractures evoked by exogenous acetylcholine were completely abolished by MLV, whereas those of KCl were also significantly altered (86% ± 11%, 53% ± 11%, 89% ± 5% and 89% ± 7% for one, three, 10 and 30 µg of venom/mL, respectively; n = 4; p < 0.05). In mouse phrenic nerve-diaphragm preparations, MLV (1–10 µg/mL) promoted a slight increase in the amplitude of twitch-tension (3 µg/mL), followed by neuromuscular blockade (n = 4); the highest concentration caused complete inhibition of the twitches (time for 50% blockade = 26 ± 3 min), without exhibiting a previous neuromuscular facilitation. The venom (3 µg/mL) induced a biphasic modulation in the frequency of miniature end-plate potentials (MEPPs)/min, causing a significant increase after 15 min, followed by a decrease after 60 min (from 17 ± 1.4 (basal) to 28 ± 2.5 (t15) and 12 ± 2 (t60)). The membrane resting potential of mouse diaphragm preparations pre-exposed or not to d-tubocurarine (5 µg/mL) was also significantly less negative with MLV (10 µg/mL). Together, these results indicate that M. laticollaris venom induces neuromuscular blockade by a combination of pre- and post-synaptic activities. View Full-Text
Keywords: snake venom; Micrurus laticollaris; presynaptic action; postsynaptic action; neuromuscular preparations snake venom; Micrurus laticollaris; presynaptic action; postsynaptic action; neuromuscular preparations

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Carbajal-Saucedo, A.; Floriano, R.S.; Belo, C.A.D.; Olvera-Rodríguez, A.; Alagón, A.; Rodrigues-Simioni, L. Neuromuscular Activity of Micrurus laticollaris (Squamata: Elapidae) Venom in Vitro. Toxins 2014, 6, 359-370.

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