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Serotonin in Animal Venoms

Last updated over 3 years ago

Serotonin, or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), is a biogenic monoamine neurotransmitter, derived from the amino acid tryptophan, found in numerous animal venoms. In the human body, serotonin is found mainly in the gastrointestinal tract, the central nervous system, and in platelets. It is involved in the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep. When present in venoms, serotonin serves a defensive purpose. Its role in the contraction of smooth muscles (such as the abdominal smooth muscles during digestion) means that a sudden increase in the body, as in the process of envenomation, leads to severe local pain or even lethal vasoconstriction in the case of smaller prey. Serotonin is also understood to facilitate the spread and absorption of the more toxic components in venoms. Reference: Beck, D.D. (2005). Biology of Gila Monsters and Beaded Lizards (Organisms and Environments). University of California Press. 247. Welsh J.H., Batty C.S. (1963). 5-Hydroxytryptamine content of some arthropod venoms and venom containing parts. Toxicon 1:165.

  • Acanthoscurria atrox

    Brazilian Giant Black Tarantula

    References:
    Welsh J.H., Batty C.S. (1963). 5-Hydroxytryptamine content of some arthropod venoms and venom containing parts. Toxicon 1:165.
  • Acanthoscurria sternalis

    References:
    Welsh J.H., Batty C.S. (1963). 5-Hydroxytryptamine content of some arthropod venoms and venom containing parts. Toxicon 1:165.
  • 59746_88_88

    Calliactis parasitica

    "Parasitic" Anemone

    References:
    Welsh, J.H. (1960). 5-Hydroxytryptamine in coelenterates. Nature. 186:811-2.
  • 22002_88_88

    Centruroides gracilis

    References:
    Welsh J.H., Batty C.S. (1963). 5-Hydroxytryptamine content of some arthropod venoms and venom containing parts. Toxicon 1:165.
  • 40916_88_88

    Conus imperialis

    Imperial Cone

    References:
    McIntosh J.M., Foderaro T.A., Li W., Ireland C.M., Olivera B.M. (1993). Presence of serotonin in the venom of Conus Imperialis. Toxicon 31(12):1561-6.
  • 08748_88_88

    Haliplanella lineata

    Green Anemone

    References:
    Welsh, J.H. (1960). 5-Hydroxytryptamine in coelenterates. Nature. 186:811-2.
  • 43564_88_88

    Heloderma horridum

    Mexican Beaded Lizard

    References:
    Beck, D.D. (2005). Biology of Gila Monsters and Beaded Lizards (Organisms and Environments). University of California Press. 247.
  • 35936_88_88

    Hydra oligactis

    Brown Hydra

    References:
    Welsh, J.H. (1960). 5-Hydroxytryptamine in coelenterates. Nature. 186:811-2.
  • Lychas laevifrons

    References:
    Basu A., Gomes A., Gomes A., Dasgupta S.C., Lahiri S.C. (1990). Histamine, 5-HT and Hyaluronidase in the venom of the scorpion Lychas laevifrons (Pock). Ind J Med Res 92: 371-3
  • 40030_88_88

    Lycosa erythrognatha

    References:
    Welsh J.H., Batty C.S. (1963). 5-Hydroxytryptamine content of some arthropod venoms and venom containing parts. Toxicon 1:165.
  • 56309_88_88

    Phoneutria fera

    References:
    Welsh J.H., Batty C.S. (1963). 5-Hydroxytryptamine content of some arthropod venoms and venom containing parts. Toxicon 1:165.
  • 69021_88_88

    Polistes fuscatus

    Paper Wasp

    References:
    Welsh J.H., Batty C.S. (1963). 5-Hydroxytryptamine content of some arthropod venoms and venom containing parts. Toxicon 1:165.
  • Polistes versicolor

    References:
    Welsh J.H., Batty C.S. (1963). 5-Hydroxytryptamine content of some arthropod venoms and venom containing parts. Toxicon 1:165.
  • 93529_88_88

    Polybia occidentalis

    Camoati

    References:
    Welsh J.H., Batty C.S. (1963). 5-Hydroxytryptamine content of some arthropod venoms and venom containing parts. Toxicon 1:165.
  • Scolopendra viridicornis

    References:
    Welsh J.H., Batty C.S. (1963). 5-Hydroxytryptamine content of some arthropod venoms and venom containing parts. Toxicon 1:165.
  • Synoeca surinama

    References:
    Welsh J.H., Batty C.S. (1963). 5-Hydroxytryptamine content of some arthropod venoms and venom containing parts. Toxicon 1:165.
  • Tityus bahiensis

    References:
    Welsh J.H., Batty C.S. (1963). 5-Hydroxytryptamine content of some arthropod venoms and venom containing parts. Toxicon 1:165.
  • Tityus serrulatus

    Brazilian Scorpion

    References:
    Nascimento E.B. Jr, Costa K.A., Bertollo C.M., Oliveira A.C., Rocha L.T., Souza A.L., Glória M.B., Moraes-Santos T., Coelho M.M. (2005). Pharmacological investigation of nociceptive response and edema induced by scorpion Tityus serrulatus. Toxicon 45: 585-93.
  • 21081_88_88

    Urolophus halleri

    Haller's Round Ray

    References:
    Russell, F.E., Van Harreveld, A. (1954). Cardiovascular effects of the venom of the round stingray, Urobatis halleri. Arch. Int. Physiol. 62, 232–233.
  • 79839_88_88

    Vespa crabro

    European Hornet

    References:
    Bhoola K.D., Calle J.D., Schachter M. (1961) Identification of acetylcholine, 5-hydroxy-tryptamine, histamine, and a new kinin in hornet venom (V. crabro). J Physiol. 159:167–182.
  • 20847_88_88

    Vespula vulgaris

    Common Yellowjacket

    References:
    Collier, H. O. J. (1958). The occurrence of 5 Hydroxytryptamine (HT) in nature. In: 5 Hydroxytryptamine. Lewis G.P., Eds. New York: Pergamon Press. 5-19.