Background: In the present study, we have tested whether specimens of the medically relevant scorpion Tityus pachyurus, collected from two climatically and ecologically different regions, differ in the biological activities of the venom. Methods: Scorpions were collected in Tolima and Huila, Colombia. Chemical profiles of the crude venom were obtained from 80 scorpions for each region, using SDS-PAGE and RP-HPLC. Assays for phospholipase A2, direct and indirect hemolytic, proteolytic, neuromuscular, antibacterial, and insecticidal activities were carried out. Results: The electrophoretic profiles of venom from the two regions showed similar bands of 6-14 kDa, 36-45 kDa, 65 kDa and 97 kDa. However, bands between 36 kDa and 65 kDa were observed with more intensity in venoms from Tolima, and a 95 kDa band occurred only in venoms from Huila. The chromatographic profile of the venoms showed differences in the intensity of some peaks, which could be associated with changes in the abundance of some components between both populations. Phospholipase A2 and hemolytic activities were not observable, whereas both venoms showed proteolytic activity towards casein. Insecticidal activity of the venoms from both regions showed significant variation in potency, the bactericidal activity was variable and low for both venoms. Moreover, no differences were observed in the neuromuscular activity assay. Conclusion: Our results reveal some variation in the activity of the venom between both populations, which could be explained by the ecological adaptations like differences in feeding, altitude and/or diverse predator exposure. However more in-depth studies are necessary to determine the drivers behind the differences in venom composition and activities.
Keywords: Scorpion; Venom; Insecticides; Antibacterial agents; Chromatography; HPLC.