Revamped mini-αA-crystallin showed improved skin permeation and therapeutic activity against melittin-induced toxicity

Tenzin Tender, Rakesh Ravishankar Rahangdale, Madhavan Nampoothiri, Ruchira Raychaudhuri, Srinivas Mutalik, Krishna Sharma, Raghu Chandrashekar H

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Melittin is honey bee venom's primary and most toxic pharmacologically active component. Melittin causes haemolysis, lymphocyte lysis, long-term pain, localised inflammation followed by rhabdomyolysis, and severe renal failure. Renal failure or cardiovascular complications could lead to the victim's death. Severe honey bee bites are treated with general medication involving antihistaminic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic drugs, as a specific treatment option is unavailable. An earlier study showed the anti-hemolysis and anti-lymphocyte lysis activity of mini- αA-crystallin (MAC), a peptide derived from human eye lens alpha-crystallin. MAC's use has often been restricted despite its high therapeutic potential due to its poor skin permeability. This study compared the skin permeation, anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of natural peptide MAC and its modified version (MAC-GRD) formed by attaching cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) and GRD amino residues into MAC. Gel formulations were prepared for MAC and MAC-GRD peptides using carbopol (1% w/w), Tween 80 (1%), and ethanol (10%). An ex-vivo skin permeation study was performed using a vertical-type Franz diffusion apparatus. Preclinical in-vivo experiments were conducted to compare the native and modified peptide formulations against melittin-induced toxicity in Wistar rats. MAC gel, MAC–GRD gel and 1% hydrocortisone cream significantly reduced the melittin-induced writhing (20.16 ± 0.792) response in rats with 15.16 ± 0.47, 11.16 ± 0.477 and 12.66 ± 0.66 wriths, respectively. There was a significant reduction in melittin-induced inflammation when MAC-GRD gel was applied immediately after melittin administration. At 0.5, 1, 3, and 5 h, the MAC-GRD-treated rat paws were 0.9 ± 0.043 mm, 0.750 ± 0.037 mm, 0.167 ± 0.0070 mm, and 0.133 ± 0.031 mm thick. Administration of melittin resulted in reduced GSH (antioxidant) levels (47.33 ± 0.760 μg/mg). However, treatment with MAC-GRD gel (71.167 ± 0.601 μg/mg), MAC gel (65.167 ± 1.138 μg/mg), and 1% hydrocortisone (68.33 ± 0.667 μg/mg) significantly increased the antioxidant enzyme levels. MAC-GRD gel significantly reduced the elevated MDA levels (6.933 ± 0.049 nmol/mg) compared to the melittin group (12.533 ± 0.126 nmol/mg), followed by the 1% hydrocortisone (7.367 ± 0.049 nmol/mg) and MAC gel (7.917 ± 0.048 nmol/mg). MAC-GRD demonstrated more skin permeability and superior anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antioxidant activities when compared to MAC gel. When compared to standard 1% hydrocortisone cream, MAC-GRD had better anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, and comparable action in anti-oxidant restoration against melittin. These findings suggest that the developed MAC-GRD gel formulation could help to treat severe cases of honey bee stings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107611
Publication statusPublished - 23-02-2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology


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