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(organic chemistry)
C10H12O4 Colorless crystals that melt at 218°C; slightly soluble in acetone, chloroform, alcohol, and water; used in veterinary medicine. Also known as cantharides camphor.



the active principle of Spanish flies and other bugs of the family Meloidae (blister beetles); a terpenoid anhydride of cantharidic acid. Cantharidin is poorly soluble in water and readily soluble in fats and organic solvents. It severely blisters the skin and mucous membranes. It causes pain, a burning sensation, and formation of blisters. Ingestion causes poisoning, accompanied by catarrh of the urinary tract, salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and excitation of the central nervous system.

References in periodicals archive ?
Colic and diarrhea are common, but cantharidin may also affect the heart and kidneys.
Combination topical treatment of molluscum contagiosum with cantharidin and imiquimod 5% in children: a case series of 16 patients.
Chemical basis of courtship in a beetle (Neopyrochroa flabellata): cantharidin as precopulatory "enticing" agent.
Dermatitis caused by cantharidin is generally less symptomatic than that caused by pederin because cantharidin blisters do not cause as intense burning or itching.
For a few days after eating the beetles, the frogs showed cantharidin levels ranging from 25 to 50 milligrams per gram of thigh muscle, the researchers report in the December CHEMOECOLOGY.
Eisner fears that most physicians today might not consider cantharidin toxicity as a cause for the priapism cases they encounter among their patients.
We also investigated the AhR-dependent activities of cantharidin and emodin (in herbal extracts) in Ah-responsive MCF-7 human breast cells, HepG2 human liver cancer cells, and mouse Hepa-1 cells transiently or stably transfected with plasmids expressing a luciferase reporter gene linked to multiple copies of a consensus dioxin-responsive element.
All treatments for common warts attempt to destroy infected cells, with common approaches including liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy), topically applied acids, electrosurgery, cantharidin application, and laser ablation.
Poisonous to humans, its active ingredient--a terpene known as cantharidin -- occasionally attracts other insects, especially male pyrochroid beetles, which feast compulsively on meloid carcasses.
This study compared mouse-model anti-tumor activity of two water-insoluble chemotherapeutics, camptothecin and cantharidin, and two relatively unstable chemotherapeutic drugs, mechloretharine hydrochloride and mitomycin, when administered with ADV versus aqueous supensions or solutions of free drug.
There are many treatments for warts, including topical treatments that are applied directly to the wart such as salicylic acid, liquid nitrogen or cantharidin.