Anti-Strychnine Immunoconjugate Reduces the Effects of Strychnine-Induced Toxicity in Mice

Carly Baehr, Andrew J. Kassick, Jennifer Vigliaturo, Diego Luengas, Aaron Khaimraj, Marco Pravetoni, Saadyah E. Averick, Michael D. Raleigh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Strychnine poisoning induces seizures that result in loss of control of airway muscles, leading to asphyxiation and subsequent death. Current treatment options are limited, requiring hands-on medical care and isolation to low-stimulus environments. Anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants have shown limited success in cases of severe toxicity. Furthermore, nonfatal strychnine poisoning is likely to result in long-term muscular and cognitive damage. Due to its potency, accessibility, and lack of effective antidotes, strychnine poses a unique threat for mass casualty incidents. As a first step toward developing an anti-strychnine immunotherapy to reduce or prevent strychnine-induced seizures, a strychnine vaccine was synthesized using subunit keyhole limpet hemocyanin. Mice were vaccinated with the strychnine immunoconjugate and then given a 0.75 mg/kg IP challenge of strychnine and observed for seizures for 30 min. Vaccination reduced strychnine-induced events, and serum strychnine levels were increased while brain strychnine levels were decreased in vaccinated animals compared to the control. These data demonstrate that strychnine-specific antibodies can block the seizure-inducing effects of strychnine and could be used to develop a therapeutic for strychnine poisoning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1291-1298
Number of pages8
JournalACS Chemical Neuroscience
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 5 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the University of Minnesota Department of Pharmacology.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Chemical Society.


  • antitoxin
  • immunotherapy
  • seizure
  • strychnine
  • toxicity
  • vaccine

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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