Sunday, April 10, 2016

Jellyfish Venom

    I have always been interested in jellyfish. They are one of the most unique organisms with their transparent bodies and swift movements throughout the ocean. Some jellyfish are clear but there are others that are more vibrant with colors like pink, yellow and purple. They can be found in both cold and warm parts of the ocean, in deep water, and along the coastline. Jellyfish have been drifting along ocean currents for many years and even before dinosaurs roamed the earth. They eat shrimp, fish, crabs, and tiny plants. In China they are fished because they are seen as a delicacy. They are even used in Chinese medicine.

   The tentacles of jellyfish have tiny stinging cells. These cells are used to stun/paralyze their prey before they eat them. A sting from a jellyfish can be very painful to humans and even dangerous. Jellyfish don't purposely attack humans though. Most of the stinging occurs because of people accidentally touching jellyfish. Sort of like when a bee lands on you, just the sensation of being touched causes the jellyfish to react and sting automatically. Although a sting from a jellyfish isn't always deadly, it can be if it is from a dangerous species.

   Nemopilema nomurai is one of the largest species of jellyfish. I found an article that examined the effects of their venom. This species is found offshore of Korea, Japan, and China. An increase in their population increases the risk of people being stung. The cardiovascular effects and cytotoxicity along with the hemolytic activities of the venom has been seen in rodent models. For this study, the venom from the Nemopilema nomurai jellyfish was tested on rat cardiomyocytes using gel electrophoresis and matrix-assisted laser desorption. Cells that were treated with the venom showed dose dependent inhibition of viability. The cellar changes at the proteome level were investigated after six and twelve hours of venom treatment. This was the first report that revealed the cardiac toxicity of the venom at the proteome level. The venom from this species of jellyfish directly targeted proteins involved in cardiac dysfunction and maintenance.

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       One of the most common misconceptions is how to treat a jellyfish sting. The myth is that you should have someone urinate and or urinate on your own sting to relieve the pain. The best treatment for the sting depends on the type of jellyfish that stings you. The better simple remedies to treat the sting include: removing the stingers, taking a hot shower or applying ice packs, taking pain relievers and adding lotion, and rinsing with vinegar or applying baking soda paste. Removing the stingers or any part of the jellyfish tentacle that remains is a good way to relieve the pain. This should be done by rinsing with sea water. Fresh water should not be used and rubbing the area with a towel is also not suggested as these actions can activate more stingers and cause more pain. The hot shower should be as hot as you can handle, and the ice packs can also relieve pain. Lotion can help with any itching or discomfort. Rinsing with vinegar for 30 seconds or applying baking soda paste with seawater can both help deactivate the stingers of certain types of jellyfish.

       Hopefully these are helpful tips that will stick with you, especially as we explore the Outer Banks in a little over a week!

Choudhary, Indu, et al. "Proteomics Approach To Examine The Cardiotoxic Effects Of Nemopilema Nomurai Jellyfish Venom." Journal Of Proteomics 128.(2015): 123-131. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

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