Local edema induced by the black-bellied hornet (Vespa basalis) venom and its components. Toxicon 29, 1033-1042, 1991.-The black-bellied hornet, Vespa basalis, is one of the most dangerous species of wasp in Taiwan. The hornet venom possesses a potent edema-inducing activity in addition to its lethal cardiovascular effect. Rat hind-paw edema induced by the venom was inhibited significantly by antiserotonin compounds (cyproheptadine and methysergide) but not by antihistaminics (chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine), betamethasone, cromolyn, indomethacin plus nordihydroguaiaretic acid, cellulose sulfate, aprotinin or captopril. However, chlorpheniramine or betamethasone, when given in combination with cyproheptadine, showed a significant further inhibition of the venom-induced edema. Pretreating the rat with compound 48 80 reduced the edematous response to the venom. Four venom components, i.e. the lethal protein, mastoparan B, fraction 3 (containing protease) and fraction 15 (containing serotonin) were involved in the edematous effect of the venom. Paw edema induced by the crude venom and its protein components (lethal protein, mastoparan B and fraction 3) was similar in their responses to antiserotonin compounds and antihistamine (inhibited by cyproheptadine and methysergide but not by chlorpheniramine), while that induced by fraction 15 was inhibited by both. It is postulated that upon hornet stings, fraction 15 is acting as an exogenous serotonin, while the protein components, especially the lethal protein, are responsible for the release of endogenous autacoids in which serotonin plays the most important role in inducing local edema.
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