Pain is a common symptom induced during envenomation by spiders and scorpions. Toxins isolated from their venom have become essential tools for studying the functioning and physiopathological role of ion channels, as they modulate their activity. In particular, toxins that induce pain relief effects can serve as a molecular basis for the development of future analgesics in humans. This review provides a summary of the different scorpion and spider toxins that directly interact with pain-related ion channels, with inhibitory or stimulatory effects. Some of these toxins were shown to affect pain modalities in different animal models providing information on the role played by these channels in the pain process. The close interaction of certain gating-modifier toxins with membrane phospholipids close to ion channels is examined along with molecular approaches to improve selectivity, affinity or bioavailability in vivo for therapeutic purposes.
Keywords: Venom; Toxin; Spider; Scorpion; Pain; Ion channels.