Concerning Jellyfish Toxins...

edited February 21 in General Discussion
Seeing that Ms. McCardel's valiant effort ran afoul of jellyfish, I started wondering about the practice of deliberately using doses of toxins to aquire immunity to the toxins. As in:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithridatism

My best friend was once married to the one daughter of this gentleman:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Haast

He did this with poisonous snake venom and my friend said that it was truly amazing to see him handle cobras and the like.

I was wondering if it might work with jellyfish - at least enough so that it wouldn't affect breathing and the like. If anyone has a contact with the jellyfish researcher (Dr. Angel something-I-can't-remember-right-now), could you get her opinion?

Just curious...

-LBJ
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
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Comments

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer Admin
    edited June 2013
    There's a jelly expert in Ireland (Dr. Tom Doyle) who has done presentations to a couple of Irish swimming groups. My memory of it is poor but I recall him being asked this question and seem to recall he said he might not work for whatever reason I don't remember. I could be wrong about that though. (The concern was Lion's Manes rather than Box). I've been meaning to contact him again so I can try to chase it up.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    Want to know about jellyfish?
    Donal start at home http://www.jellyfish.ie the best site that I found so far.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited June 2013
    In all of PubMed, 'mithridatism' occurs only twice.

    100 years of hyposensitization: history of allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT).

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21320133

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21899559
  • Thanks @Niek, the jellyfish ID charts off jellyfish.ie are well used and in fact Tom Doyle is part of the team behind it afaik.
  • SydneDSydneD Member
    Several years ago, I was stung by a man-o-war near the start of the St. Croix 5-Mile swim. I had an intense reaction requiring an ER visit, steroids and all kinds of nastiness. The next year, when I returned to St. Croix for the same swim, I had an extremely severe reaction to Sea Lice, and the tendency to react continued for several years. The reaction was severe enough to require pretty intense medical intervention because of severely low white blood cell levels. For the next few years, every time I went to areas where Sea Lice exposure was possible, I reacted--strongly. In Belize, in Florida, in Mexico.

    What my doctor explained was that my reaction was essentially like that of a person who has a bee sting, with the potential for reactions increasing in severity with increased exposure. They also told me that if I was lucky, the severity of my reactions would possibly decrease the further out I got from the original sting and the longer I was away from the toxins. Thankfully, it did. As the black lines of sting scar disappeared from my arm, the reactions became less severe. Now, I still react, but not in the same way and not in a way that scares my family. :) Did it stop me from open water swimming? Nope. Not a chance. But I wouldn't try any kind of jellyfish immunotherapy if you paid me!
  • AngelYanagiharaAngelYanagihara Temporary Suspension


    Aloha Leonard and Forum members,

    Thank you for your question. Envenomation is a complex process.
    1. There is a physical perforation of the skin by explosive cnidae (aka nematocysts, stinging cell organelles) with their hyperdermic like hollow venom delivering spine covered tubules left embedded like millions of microscopic splinters in the tissue for days to weeks or months.
    a. Here is a ballistic video of tubules discharging from a live tentacle that I recorded in my lab with a 30,000 frame per second camera on my microscope:
    http://www5.pbrc.hawaii.edu/pcrl/nematocyst_discharge.html
    b. Here is what the physical spiny tubule structures look like using electron microscopy
    http://www.academia.edu/949967/Ultrastructure_of_a_novel_eurytele_nematocyst_of_Carybdea_alata_Reynaud_Cubozoa_Cnidaria_
    c. Here is a broad discussion of the basis of persistent or recurrent hypersensitivity
    http://www.academia.edu/1089001/Tibballs_IA-DT
    2. There is also the biochemical and physiological processes mediated by the complex bioactive cocktail comprising the venom itself. 12 years of my work on this topic to identify the fastest acting agent is presented here:
    http://www.academia.edu/4176442/Cubozoan_Venom-Induced_Cardiovascular_Collapse_Is_Caused_by_Hyperkalemia_and_Prevented_by_Zinc_Gluconate_in_Mice

    In summary, to answer the question then, the persistent presence of immunogenic tubule spines could result in protracted inflammation and hypersensitivity. Once these spines are cleared from the tissue this reaction may diminish. The vulnerability to the potentially lethal venom porin (aka hemolysin) however is not affected by prior exposure. This porin works faster than Anthrax Lysin O and from the same mechanistic basis-events far faster than can be mediated by circulating antibodies. So immuno therapy with the porin would not work. Adaptation to tubule antigen seems also unlikely to me as these structures contain mineralized chitin comprised of beta linked carbohydrate (non mammalian).

    I hope this is helpful.

    Best,
    Angel Yanagihara
  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member
    Thank you for your participation on this forum Dr. Yanagihara.
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • AngelYanagiharaAngelYanagihara Temporary Suspension
    @david_barra , I am happy to help in any way that I can. I have the greatest respect for the members of this forum and the fantastic athleticism involved in this sport. I am a committed ocean swimmer myself but far to slow to ever compete! Still I like nothing more than to swim for 1 -2 hours in the ocean.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    No need to compete.
    There are plenty recreational swims in the world.
    Just enjoy your swims.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • edited September 2013


    In summary, to answer the question then, the persistent presence of immunogenic tubule spines could result in protracted inflammation and hypersensitivity. Once these spines are cleared from the tissue this reaction may diminish. The vulnerability to the potentially lethal venom porin (aka hemolysin) however is not affected by prior exposure. This porin works faster than Anthrax Lysin O and from the same mechanistic basis-events far faster than can be mediated by circulating antibodies. So immuno therapy with the porin would not work. Adaptation to tubule antigen seems also unlikely to me as these structures contain mineralized chitin comprised of beta linked carbohydrate (non mammalian).

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! After reading all this, seeing the video and thinking about it, I want to go back in time and become a jellyfish toxin researcher instead of a math/comp sci guy. This is fascinating. Is there a book you would recommend on this - sort of a "Jellyfish Toxins For Dummies"?

    BTW, we are not accepting the "I'm too slow to ever compete" excuse. We expect to see you at either stage 3 or 4 of next year's 8 Bridges swim. As an added bonus, you won't have to worry about Jellyfish in that part of the Hudson.

    Thanks again.

    -LBJ

    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
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