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  • 1
    Canatoxin is a toxic protein isolated from Canavalia ensiformis seeds. It induces death preceded by convulsions of spinal cord origin and also produces in vitro aggregation of platelets in rabbit, human and guinea-pig plasma. The aggregating effect is dose-dependent at nanomolar concentrations.
  • 2
    Rabbit platelets pretreated with canatoxin became refractory to a second exposure to this protein or to collagen, but were still responsive to ADP, Paf-acether or arachidonic acid. [14C]-5-hydroxytryptamine was released from pre-labelled platelets on stimulation with canatoxin.
  • 3
    Washed rabbit platelets, but not thrombin-degranulated ones, aggregated on stimulation with canatoxin provided that fibrinogen was added before the toxin.
  • 4
    Canatoxin's pro-aggregating activity was inhibited by mepacrine, EDTA, caffeine, prostacyclin, adenosine monophosphate and also by the ADP scavenger system, creatine phosphokinase/creatine phosphate. Furthermore, 3-amino-l-[m-(trifluoromethyl)-phenyl]-2-pyrazoline (BW 755C), eicosatetraynoic acid (ETYA) and nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) were potent inhibitors of canatoxin-induced aggregation. In contrast, no inhibition was seen with indomethacin.
  • 5
    The data indicate that canatoxin is mainly a release-reaction-promoting agent, being devoid of any direct aggregating activity. Thus the aggregation is totally dependent on the release of ADP. Furthermore, canatoxin-induced platelet activation is probably dependent on platelet phospholipase A2 and lipoxygenase activity but is not dependent on cyclo-oxygenase products or the release of Paf-acether.