Microbial-Caused Diseases and Antimicrobial Drugs

Topics: Scorpion, Bacteria, Microbiology Pages: 13 (2482 words) Published: December 3, 2014
CHAPTER 1
Introduction and Its Background
Introduction
Infectious diseases are one of the main contributors to global mortality and morbidity. Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi. These diseases can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another. Vaccines, antibiotics, and many other advances have lessened the impact of infectious diseases. Unfortunately, this has not been true everywhere. It has not been true in many developing countries. Infectious diseases remain the major causes of morbidity and mortality in much of the world because new illnesses caused by microorganisms continue to emerge. Moreover, known pathogens are becoming resistant to treatment. Some pathogenic microbes that had been "controlled" through the use of antibiotics are beginning to develop drug resistance and therefore re-emerge as serious threats in the industrialized world as well as developing nations. (World Health Organization, April 2014). Staphylococcus aureus strains are emerging that are resistant to many of the antibiotics that were previously effective against them. These staph infections are of great concern in hospital settings around the world. Patients with infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria are generally at increased risk of worse clinical outcomes and death, and consume more healthcare resources than patients infected with the same bacteria that are not resistant. The need for new antimicrobial agents is becoming one of the most urgent requirements in modern medicine (World Health Organization, April 2014). As a result, researchers are investigating alternative ways for developing better treatment for microbial-caused diseases one of which is based on natural compounds found in the venom of various scorpions species. Scorpion venom has been used as traditional and folk therapy in various pathophysiological conditions. Scorpion venom is a complex mixture of salts, neurotoxins, peptides and proteins. Scorpion toxins have antiproliferative, cytotoxic, apoptogenic, and immunosuppressive properties. These properties make scorpion toxin as useful agents for therapeutic application (Baby Joseph & Jency George, 2012). Scorpions are members of the class Arachnids. These arthropods have been around for hundreds of millions of years with almost 2,000 species. Scorpions produce venom to sting its predators and to immobilize its prey. Scorpion venom is consists of neurotoxins that has recently gone through testing to determine its possible benefits for human medicine. Current research on scorpion venom is slow going, but there are a number of medical possibilities (Baby Joseph & Jency George, 2012). The venoms of many different species are rich sources of biologically active components and various therapeutic agents have been characterized including antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Due to their potent activity, low resistance rates and unique mode of action, AMPs have recently received much attention. AMP’s such as parabutoporin, a pore-forming peptide previously isolated from the venom of some South-African scorpion Parabuthus species which showed an acitivity against  growth of gram-negative bacteria  and inhibited growth of fungi. (Moerman L et. al., 2002.) Parabuthus transvaalicus, commonly known as Black Thick Tailed Scorpion, is a common and widespread specie found in the drier desert and scrubland areas of South Africa. It is the largest member of the Buthidae family and can grow up to 15 cm. The venom of this species is generally potent which makes it medically important (South African National Biodiversity Institute, 2008). Over the past years there has been an increasing interest in the role of toxins in the field of medicine. While toxins can create medical emergencies when humans are envenomated, these same molecules could have therapeutic value in treating various diseases. Although the medical relevance was not clear at the...
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