Preliminary molecular characterization of a proinflammatory and nociceptive molecule from the Echinometra lucunter spines extracts

<div><p>Abstract Background Sea urchins are animals commonly found on the Brazilian shoreline, being Echinometra lucunter the most abundant species. Accidents caused by E. lucunter have been reported as one of the most frequent in Brazil, and are characterized by intense pain and inflammation, consequence of spine puncture in the skin. In order to characterize such toxic effects, we isolated one molecule that caused inflammatory and nociceptive effects. Methods E. lucunter specimens were collected without gender distinction. Spines were removed and molecules were extracted, fractionated by RP-HPLC and assayed for inflammatory and nociceptive activity, in a biological-driven fractionation way, until the obtainment of one active molecule and its subsequent analysis by mass spectrometry (MS and MS/MS). For inflammation, intravital microscopy was performed on the mouse cremaster muscle, in order to evaluate rolled, adherent and migrating leukocytes. Paw edema was also evaluated. For the nociceptive activity, the paw pressure test was performed in rats. Results One molecule could be isolated and related to the inflammatory and nociceptive activity. Regarding inflammation, increase in adherent and migrating cells was observed in the cremaster muscle after the administration of the molecule. Corroborating the inflammatory response, paw edema was also observed, although only in 20% of controls and 20 min after injection. Additionally, this molecule was able to decrease significantly the pain threshold, characterizing hyperalgesia. This molecule was analyzed by mass spectrometry, and according to the exact molecular mass, isotopic distribution and fragmentation profile, it was possible to propose the molecular formula C29H48N3O10. Conclusions One isolated molecule from the spine extract of E. lucunter is able to elicit inflammation and hypernociception in animal models, which is in agreement with the effects observed in sea urchin accidents.</p></div>