From venom to pain research: a novel use of a scorpaenidae venom

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O'Connor, JM, Hahn, ST & Brooks, LO 2004, 'From venom to pain research: a novel use of a scorpaenidae venom', Biological Research for Nursing, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 100-109.

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The algesic properties of nocitoxin—a single monomeric, soluble protein responsible for significant algesia—were assessed through human bioassay to gauge nocitoxin’s potential for use as a clinical pain stimulus. The hypothesis guiding this study stated that subjects tested with crude bullrout venom or nocitoxin will report experience of pain consistent with chemically induced nociception. To test this hypothesis, sterile solutions of crude bullrout venom, nocitoxin, and pooled nonalgesic proteins were applied to the volar aspect of the forearm of human volunteers in a single-blind study. The resultant pain experiences were recorded using a visual analogue scale and a modified version of the McGill pain questionnaire. Data were assessed for significance using multivariate analysis. Pain responses to crude venom and nocitoxin were significantly greater than pain responses to negative controls (visual anologue scale (VAS), P = 0.001; McGill P = 0.01). Bullrout venom and nocitoxin elicit a similar quality and intensity of pain and represent sensitive, measurable, reproducible stimuli in the absence of observable tissue injury. Therefore, nocitoxin may serveas a suitable stimulus for clinical pain research.

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