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Concept: Lion's mane jellyfish


Our previous studies have confirmed that the crude tentacle-only extract (cTOE) from the jellyfish Cyanea capillata (Cyaneidae) exhibits hemolytic and cardiovascular toxicities simultaneously. So, it is quite difficult to discern the underlying active component responsible for heart injury caused by cTOE. The inactivation of the hemolytic toxicity from cTOE accompanied with a removal of plenty of precipitates would facilitate the separation of cardiovascular component and the investigation of its cardiovascular injury mechanism. In our research, after the treatment of one-step alkaline denaturation followed by twice dialysis, the protein concentration of the treated tentacle-only extract (tTOE) was about 1/3 of cTOE, and SDS-PAGE showed smaller numbers and lower density of protein bands in tTOE. The hemolytic toxicity of tTOE was completely lost while its cardiovascular toxicity was well retained. The observations of cardiac function, histopathology and ultrastructural pathology all support tTOE with significant cardiovascular toxicity. Blood gas indexes and electrolytes changed far less by tTOE than those by cTOE, though still with significant difference from normal. In summary, the cardiovascular toxicity of cTOE can exist independently of the hemolytic toxicity and tTOE can be employed as a better venom sample for further purification and mechanism research on the jellyfish cardiovascular toxic proteins.

Concepts: Protein, Blood, Heart, Toxicity, Jellyfish, Lion's mane jellyfish, Cyaneidae, Semaeostomeae


The delayed jellyfish envenomation syndrome (DJES) with serious multiple organ dysfunction or systemic damages, generally developed 2 hours after jellyfish stings, deserves special attentions for it is very meaningful to the clinical interventions. To set up a DJES model as well as to obtain more details about its process, an integrative approach, including clinical chemistry, pathology and immunohistochemistry, was conducted to simultaneously monitor the effects of tentacle extract (TE) from the jellyfish Cyanea capillata on the vital target organs (heart, lung, liver and kidney). Our results showed that the TE from C. capillata could induce diverse toxic effects on these organs, among which the liver and kidney injuries seemed to be more serious than cardiopulmonary injuries and might be the leading causes of death in rats with DJES. In summary, we have established a DJES model with multiple organ dysfunction, which could facilitate the research on its underlying mechanism as well as the development of specific prevention or therapy strategies against jellyfish envenomation. The application of this model suggested that the possible mechanism of DJES might be attributed to the synergy of cytotoxicity, vasoconstriction effect and other specific target organ toxicities of jellyfish venom.

Concepts: Biology, Heart, Liver, Organ, Toxicity, Jellyfish, Organs, Lion's mane jellyfish


Lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata) stings cause severe pain and can lead to dangerous systemic effects, including Irukandji-like syndrome. As is the case for most cnidarian stings, recommended medical protocols in response to such stings lack rigorous scientific support. In this study, we sought to evaluate potential first aid care protocols using previously described envenomation models that allow for direct measurements of venom activity. We found that seawater rinsing, the most commonly recommended method of tentacle removal for this species, induced significant increases in venom delivery, while rinsing with vinegar or Sting No More(®) Spray did not. Post-sting temperature treatments affected sting severity, with 40 min of hot-pack treatment reducing lysis of sheep’s blood (in agar plates), a direct representation of venom load, by over 90%. Ice pack treatment had no effect on sting severity. These results indicate that sting management protocols for Cyanea need to be revised immediately to discontinue rinsing with seawater and include the use of heat treatment.

Concepts: In vivo, In vitro, Cnidaria, Jellyfish, Lion's mane jellyfish, Tentacle, Cyaneidae, Cyanea


Jellyfish-induced gill pathology relies upon occasional diagnostic observations yet the extent and impact of jellyfish blooms on aquaculture may be significant. Idiopathic gill lesions are often observed in apparently healthy fish. This study exposed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) smolts to macerated Cyanea capillata at 2.5 and 5 g/L for 2 hr under controlled laboratory conditions. Blood chemistry and gill histopathology were examined over a subsequent 4-week period. Fish showed an acute response to the presence of jellyfish, including characteristic external “whiplash” discoloration of the skin and acute increases in blood electrolytes and CO2 concentration; however, these were resolved within 4 days after exposure. Histopathologically, gills showed first an acute oedema with epithelial separation followed by focal haemorrhage and thrombus formation, and then progressive inflammatory epithelial hyperplasia that progressively resolved over the 4 weeks post-exposure. Results were consistent with the envenomation of gills with cytotoxic neurotoxins and haemolysins known to be produced by C. capillata. This study suggests that many focal hyperplastic lesions on gills, especially those involving focal thrombi, may be the result of jellyfish stings. Thus, the presence of jellyfish and their impact may be severe and understated in terms of marine fish aquaculture and fish welfare.

Concepts: Anatomical pathology, Salmon, Cnidaria, Jellyfish, Aquaculture, Atlantic salmon, Lion's mane jellyfish, Semaeostomeae


Our team aimed to create a new, simple, and inexpensive technique for collecting and transferring of toxic jellyfish specimens and for nematocysts identification. We collected tentacles of Chironex spp., Morbakka spp., and Physalia spp., and transferred them from the beaches by standard and by ‘vacuum sticky tape’ (VST) techniques. For the VST technique, our team placed the sticky tape on a tentacle and then folded it over to seal the tentacle in the equivalent of a vacuum. We kept the VST in room temperature. For nematocyst identification, we placed the VST on a glass microscope slide and took photographs down the microscope’s eye piece using a mobile phone camera. The image quality was as good as when produced by standard techniques. Different classes of toxic jellyfish could be identified. Thus, VST is a potential public health breakthrough because it is practical, durable, inexpensive, allows good discrimination. It enables early warning of danger to health and rapid response via social network.

Concepts: Mobile phone, Cnidaria, Sea anemone, Lion's mane jellyfish, Cnidocyte, Camera phone, Microscope slide, Sharp Corporation


Intracellular Ca(2+) overload induced by extracellular Ca(2+) entry has previously been confirmed to be an important mechanism for the cardiotoxicity as well as the acute heart dysfunction induced by jellyfish venom, while the underlying mechanism remains to be elucidated.

Concepts: Acute accent, Lion's mane jellyfish


Cations have generally been reported to prevent jellyfish venom-induced hemolysis through multiple mechanisms by spectrophotometry. Little attention has been paid to the potential interaction between cations and hemoglobin, potentially influencing the antagonistic effect of cations. Here, we explored the effects of five reported cations, La(3+), Mn(2+), Zn(2+), Cu(2+) and Fe(2+), on a hemolytic test system and the absorbance of hemoglobin, which was further used to measure their effects on the hemolysis of tentacle extract (TE) from the jellyfish Cyanea capillata. All the cations displayed significant dose-dependent inhibitory effects on TE-induced hemolysis with various dissociation equilibrium constant (Kd) values as follows: La(3+) 1.5 mM, Mn(2+) 93.2 mM, Zn(2+) 38.6 mM, Cu(2+) 71.9 μM and Fe(2+) 32.8 mM. The transparent non-selective pore blocker La(3+) did not affect the absorbance of hemoglobin, while Mn(2+) reduced it slightly. Other cations, including Zn(2+), Cu(2+) and Fe(2+), greatly decreased the absorbance with Kd values of 35.9, 77.5 and 17.6 mM, respectively. After correction, the inhibitory Kd values were 1.4 mM, 45.8 mM, 128.5 μM and 53.1 mM for La(3+), Zn(2+), Cu(2+) and Fe(2+), respectively. Mn(2+) did not inhibit TE-induced hemolysis. Moreover, the inhibitory extent at the maximal given dose of all cations except La(3+) was also diminished. These corrected results from spectrophotometry were further confirmed by direct erythrocyte counting under microscopy. Our results indicate that the cations, except for La(3+), can interfere with the absorbance of hemoglobin, which should be corrected when their inhibitory effects on hemolysis by jellyfish venoms are examined. The variation in the inhibitory effects of cations suggests that the hemolysis by jellyfish venom is mainly attributed to the formation of non-selective cation pore complexes over other potential mechanisms, such as phospholipases A2 (PLA2), polypeptides, protease and oxidation. Blocking the pore-forming complexes may be a primary strategy to improve the in vivo damage and mortality from jellyfish stings due to hemolytic toxicity.

Concepts: Hemoglobin, Red blood cell, Anemia, Hemolytic anemia, Hemolysis, Jellyfish, Equilibrium constant, Lion's mane jellyfish


Our previous study demonstrated that tentacle extract (TE) from the jellyfish Cyanea capillata (C. capillata) could cause a weak relaxation response mediated by nitric oxide (NO) using isolated aorta rings. However, the intracellular mechanisms of TE-induced vasodilation remain unclear. Thus, this study was conducted to examine the role of TE on Akt/eNOS/NO and Ca(2+) signaling pathways in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Our results showed that TE induced dose- and time-dependent increases of eNOS activity and NO production. And TE also induced Akt and eNOS phosphorylation in HUVECs. However, treatment with specific PI3-kinase inhibitor (Wortmannin) significantly inhibited the increases in NO production and Akt/eNOS phosphorylation. In addition, TE also stimulated an increase in the intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)]i), which was significantly attenuated by either IP3 receptor blocker (Heparin) or PKC inhibitor (PKC 412). In contrast, extracellular Ca(2+)-free, L-type calcium channel blocker (Nifedipine), or PKA inhibitor (H89) had no influence on the [Ca(2+)]i elevation. Since calcium ions also play a critical role in stimulating eNOS activity, we next explored the role of Ca(2+) in TE-induced Akt/eNOS activation. In consistent with the attenuation of [Ca(2+)]i elevation, we found that Akt/eNOS phosphorylation was also dramatically decreased by Heparin or PKC 412, but not affected by Nifedipine or H89. However, the phosphorylation level could also be decreased by the removal of extracellular calcium. Taken together, our findings indicated that TE-induced eNOS phosphorylation and activation were mainly through PI3K/Akt-dependent, PKC/IP3R-sensitive and Ca(2+)-dependent pathways.

Concepts: Signal transduction, Coagulation, Umbilical vein, Endothelium, Nitric oxide, Vasodilation, Nitric oxide synthase, Lion's mane jellyfish


Previously, we established delayed jellyfish envenomation syndrome (DJES) models and proposed that the hemorrhagic toxins in jellyfish tentacle extracts (TE) play a significant role in the liver and kidney injuries of the experimental model. Further, we also demonstrated that metalloproteinases are the central toxic components of the jellyfish Cyanea capillata (C. capillata), which may be responsible for the hemorrhagic effects. Thus, metalloproteinase inhibitors appear to be a promising therapeutic alternative for the treatment of hemorrhagic injuries in DJES. In this study, we examined the metalloproteinase activity of TE from the jellyfish C. capillata using zymography analyses. Our results confirmed that TE possessed a metalloproteinase activity, which was also sensitive to heat. Then, we tested the effect of metalloproteinase inhibitor batimastat (BB-94) on TE-induced hemorrhagic injuries in DJES models. Firstly, using SR-based X-ray microangiography, we found that BB-94 significantly improved TE-induced hepatic and renal microvasculature alterations in DJES mouse model. Secondly, under synchrotron radiation micro-computed tomography (SR-μCT), we also confirmed that BB-94 reduced TE-induced hepatic and renal microvasculature changes in DJES rat model. In addition, being consistent with the imaging results, histopathological and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated UTP end labeling (TUNEL)-like staining observations also clearly corroborated this hypothesis, as BB-94 was highly effective in neutralizing TE-induced extensive hemorrhage and necrosis in DJES rat model. Although it may require further clinical studies in the near future, the current study opens up the possibilities for the use of the metalloproteinase inhibitor, BB-94, in the treatment of multiple organ hemorrhagic injuries in DJES.

Concepts: Kidney, Effect, Effectiveness, Liver, Organ, Peritoneum, Offal, Lion's mane jellyfish


Jellyfish contain diverse toxins and other bioactive components. However, large-scale identification of novel toxins and bioactive components from jellyfish has been hampered by the low efficiency of traditional isolation and purification methods.

Concepts: Gene expression, Sequence, Expressed sequence tag, Toxin, Lion's mane jellyfish