In vitroneurotoxic effects ofPseudechisspp. venoms: A comparison of avian and murine skeletal muscle preparations

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Two common in vitro skeletal muscle preparations used for the study of venom neurotoxicity are the indirectly stimulated chick isolated biventer cervicis nerve-muscle preparation and the rat isolated phrenic nerve-diaphragm preparation. The aim of the current study was to compare the in vitro neurotoxicity of six Pseudechis spp. (Black snakes) venoms in both avian (chicken) and mammalian (rat) skeletal muscle preparations to determine differences in sensitivity. All Pseudechis spp. venoms significantly inhibited indirect twitches, in both preparations, indicating the presence of post synaptic neurotoxins. The inhibitory effects of all venoms were more rapid in the avian preparation, except for Pseudechis colletti venom where no significant difference was seen between the murine and avian muscles. Time taken to produce 50% reduction in stimulated twitches (i.e. t50) was markedly shorter in the avian preparation. We have shown that the avian in vitro preparation is more sensitive to the neurotoxic activity of Pseudechis spp. than the murine preparation. This difference is likely to be due to species differences in the interaction between the neurotoxins and the nicotinic receptor binding sites as well as differences in the ‘safety factor’ between the preparations.

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