Remarkable apoptotic pathway of Hemiscorpius lepturus scorpion venom on CT26 cell line

  • Mohammadreza Moradi
  • Rezvan Najafi
  • Razieh Amini
  • Reza Solgi
  • Hamid Tanzadehpanah
  • Alireza Monsef Esfahani
  • Massoud SaidijamEmail author
Original Article



Scorpion venom, considered as a treasure trove of various bioactive molecules, is a new approach to induce cancer cell death via apoptosis pathways. In the present study, we evaluated for first time the anti-proliferative efficacy of Hemiscorpius lepturus scorpion venom and its pathway on a colon carcinoma cell.

Materials and methods

The CT26 and VERO cell lines were treated with various concentrations of the venom. The IC50 values were estimated by MTT assay test, and the apoptosis was evaluated by flow cytometry. Moreover, RT-PCR analysis was used to investigate the levels of Bax, Bcl2, Trp53, and Casp3 mRNA expression. The mice xenograft model was established to evaluate the therapy efficiency of venom. Some valuable exponential growth parameters were evaluated in treated mice.


The scorpion venom inhibited the growth of CT26 cells with an IC50 value about 120 μg/ml. However, VERO cells increased to 896 μg/ml under the same condition. A remarkable apoptotic cells in CT26 cells were revealed by flow cytometry assay. A significant over-expression was observed in Bax, Casp3, and Trp53 and downregulated in Bcl2 mRNA level in tumor tissue after treatment with scorpion venom (p < 0.05). All changes of valuable exponential growth parameters showed a shrinking tumor size.


Our findings indicated that Hemiscorpius lepturus venom has a special anti-proliferative effect on CT26 cells via Trp53/Bcl2/Casp3 pathway. Considering its powerful cytotoxic vigor against a colon cancer cell (CT26) and low toxicity to non-tumorigenic cell (VERO), we propose that this venom probably has a specific effect on other colon cancer cells and may turn out to be a novel therapeutic strategy in treating colon cancer.


Scorpion venoms Apoptosis Neoplasms Hemiscorpius lepturus Colorectal cancer Antineoplastic natural compounds 


Funding information

This study was financially supported by the Hamadan University of Medical Sciences. The study was funded by the Research Center for Molecular Medicine, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences (No. 9412257461).

Compliance with ethical standards

The animal studies were performed in accordance with the experimental protocols of the animal ethics committee of Hamadan University of Medical Sciences (No. 9412257461).

All applicable international, national, and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammadreza Moradi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rezvan Najafi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Razieh Amini
    • 1
    • 2
  • Reza Solgi
    • 3
    • 4
  • Hamid Tanzadehpanah
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alireza Monsef Esfahani
    • 2
    • 5
  • Massoud Saidijam
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Research Center for Molecular MedicineHamadan University of Medical SciencesHamadanIran
  2. 2.Hamadan University of Medical SciencesHamadanIran
  3. 3.Legal Medicine Research Center, Legal Medicine Organization of IranHamadanIran
  4. 4.Felestin Square, General Office of Legal MedicineHamadanIran
  5. 5.Department of PathologyHamadan University of Medical SciencesHamadanIran

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