Biochemical and histopathological effects of the stonefish (Synanceia verrucosa) venom in rats

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Abstract

The Reef Stonefish (Synanceia verrucosa) is one of the most dangerous venomous fish known, and has caused occasional human fatalities. The present study was designed to examine some of the pathological effects of the venom from this fish in Sprague Dawley rats. Crude venom was extracted from venom glands of the dorsal spines of stonefish specimens collected from coral reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba (in the northeastern branch of the Red Sea). The rats were given intramuscular injections of the venom and acute toxicity and effect on selected serum marker enzymes as well as normal architecture of vital organs were evaluated. The rat 24 h LD50 was 38 μg/kg body weight. The serum biochemical markers; alanine transaminase (ALT), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and creatine kinase (CK) increased after 6 h of administration of a sub lethal dose of the venom and remained significantly raised at 24 h. Amylase levels also significantly increased after venom injection. The venom caused histological damage manifested as an interstitial hemorrhage, inflammatory cell infiltration, and necrosis. The demonstrated rises in the levels of different critical biochemical parameters in the serum may have led to the observed abnormal morphological changes in these organs. These results may account for some of the clinical manifestations observed in victims of stonefish envenomation. Thus, the presented data provide further in vivo evidence of the stonefish toxic effects that may threaten human life and call for the need for special measures to be considered.

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