Scorpion (Androctonus crassicauda) venom limits growth of transformed cells (SH-SY5Y and MCF-7) by cytotoxicity and cell cycle arrest

Exp Mol Pathol. 2011 Aug;91(1):447-54. doi: 10.1016/j.yexmp.2011.04.008. Epub 2011 Apr 22.


The purpose of study was to examine the cytotoxic and anti-cancer properties along with addressing the plausible pathway followed by scorpion venom to reduce cell viability in SH-SY5Y and MCF-7 cells. Following exposure of cells with scorpion venom, cytotoxicity was estimated using MTT and lactate dehydrogenase assays. Apoptotic effects were measured by assessment of mitochondrial membrane potential, reactive nitrogen species, DNA fragmentation, and caspase-3 activity whereas antiproliferative effect was assayed using BrdU incorporation. Our results indicate that scorpion venom causes suppression of proliferation by arresting S-phase and induction of apoptosis through increased nitric oxide production, caspase-3 activity and depolarization of mitochondrial membrane. Induction of apoptosis and arrest of DNA synthesis are critical determinant factors for development of anti cancer drugs. These properties may lead to isolation of effective molecule(s) with potential anticancer activity from scorpion venom of Androctonus crassicauda.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • DNA Replication / drug effects
  • Female
  • Formazans / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lactate Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / drug effects
  • Neuroblastoma / drug therapy*
  • Neuroblastoma / metabolism
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Scorpion Venoms / toxicity*
  • Tetrazolium Salts / metabolism
  • Tumor Stem Cell Assay


  • Formazans
  • Scorpion Venoms
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • MTT formazan
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Lactate Dehydrogenases
  • Bromodeoxyuridine