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Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases

On-line version ISSN 1678-9199

J. Venom. Anim. Toxins incl. Trop. Dis vol.15 no.1 Botucatu  2009

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1678-91992009000100011 

ORIGINAL PAPER

 

Antivenom action on renal effects induced by Thalassophryne nattereri venom

 

 

Martins AMCI; Barbosa PSFII; Sousa DFI; Alves CDI; Menezes DBIII; Lima CIV; Lopes-Ferreira MIV; Fonteles MCV; Monteiro HSAII

IDepartment of Clinical and Toxicological Analyses, Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Ceará State, Brazil
IIDepartment of Physiology and Pharmacology, Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Ceará State, Brazil
IIIDepartment of Pathology and Legal Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Ceará State, Brazil
IVSpecial Laboratory of Applied Toxinology, Butantan Institute, São Paulo, São Paulo State, Brazil
VMackenzie Presbyterian University, São Paulo, São Paulo State, Brazil

Correspondence to

 

 


ABSTRACT

Thalassophryne nattereri (niquim) is a venomous fish responsible for numerous accidents involving fishermen in northern and northeastern Brazil. The aim of the present investigation was to evaluate the action of antivenom on renal effects caused by Thalassophryne nattereri venom. Isolated kidneys of Wistar rats were perfused with a previously dialyzed Krebs-Henseleit solution containing 6 g% bovine serum albumin. The antivenom action was studied through perfusion pressure (PP), renal vascular resistance (RVR), urinary flow (UF) and glomerular filtration rate (GFR). The niquim venom (1 µg/mL), the antivenom alone (1 µg/mL) or the venom incubated with antivenom were added to the system 30 minutes after the beginning of each perfusion. Previous works have shown venom induced-alterations of renal function parameters. In the isolated rat kidney, T. nattereri venom (1 µg/mL) increased the perfusion pressure and renal vascular resistance at 60, 90 and 120 minutes. UF and GFR also increased at 60, 90 and 120 minutes when compared with the control group; however, no effects were observed on the percent of sodium (%TNa+control = 81.1 ±0.86; %TNa+60 = 78.04 ±1.18; %TNa+90 = 76.16 ±3.34; %TNa+120 = 79.49 ±0.87) and potassium (%TK+control = 72.29 ±1.12; %TK+60 = 75.41 ±0.65; %TK+90 = 71.23 ±2.55; %TK+120 = 76.62 ±1.04) tubular transport. The administration of the antivenom (1 µg/mL) incubated with venom (1 µg/mL) reduced the changes in PP, RVR, UF and GFR provoked by Thalassophryne nattereri venom. The group perfused with venom alone showed a moderate deposit of a proteinaceous material in the tubules and urinary space. The group perfused with the antivenom presented similar results to the control group. In conclusion, the antivenom was able to decrease the effects induced by T. nattereri venom in isolated rat kidney.

Key words: Thalassophryne nattereri, antivenom, kidney.


 

 

INTRODUCTION

Thalassophryne nattereri, also known as niquim, is a venomous fish responsible for several accidents among fishermen in northern and northeastern Brazil (1-3). On coast of Ceará State, from 1992 to 2002, 16 envenomation cases by T. nattereri were registered (4). The number of injuries is not so small considering an active study on envenomation frequency that shows a very high incidence in all fisherman communities from northeast region of Brazil. The Thalassophryne bite causes pain, edema, erythema and occasional necrosis, which are also seen in highly necrotic venoms, as the one from freshwater stingrays (2).

T. nattereri venom is composed of proteolytic and myotoxic toxins devoid of phospholipase A2 activity (5). Analysis of skeletal muscles of mice injected with the venom revealed damage to muscles (6). Some studies demonstrated that the action of the venom on endothelium may contribute to ischemia (7). On isolated rat kidney we observed that T. nattereri venom causes changes in renal function including increase in: perfusion pressure, renal vascular resistance, urinary flow and glomerular filtration rate (8). Local acute inflammatory response induced by the venom was also registered (9). Cytokines, as TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6, and a weak leukocyte influx were detected on footpads of mice. Additionally, a cytotoxic effect of the venom on mononuclear cells was recorded. T. nattereri venom content stimulates an association of cytokines of both Th1 and Th2 profile, with a notable IL-5 production and secretion of specific IgG1 and total IgE isotypes, which may also affect B cells and induce a memory antibody response by the secretion of protective IgG subclasses (10).

Anti-inflammatory drugs, like dexamethasone and indomethacin, are inefficient to control envenomation symptoms (11). It was demonstrated that harmful effects of T. nattereri envenomation on mice could be prevented by previous long-lasting immunization (12). Since systemic antibody levels could be induced by this venom and protect mice against venom deleterious properties, we therefore tested the capacity of antibodies present in horse serum to neutralizing or reducing renal effects induced by the fish venom.

 

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Venom

Specimens of adult T. nattereri fish were collected in the Brazilian state of Alagoas. The venom was obtained according to the technique described by Lopes-Ferreira et al. (5). Protein concentrations were determined through a colorimetric method (13). Standard curves were constructed using bovine serum albumin (Sigma Chemicals, USA) diluted in duplicate.

Serum Antivenom of T. nattereri

Hyperimmune serum was obtained from horses injected with T. nattereri venom (12). Each animal received 26 mg of venom during the process.

Kidney Perfusion

Adult male Wistar rats (260 to 320 g) were fasted for 24 hours with free access to water. The animals were anesthetized with sodium pentobarbitone (50 mg/kg, IP). After careful dissection of the right kidney, the right renal artery was cannulated via the mesenteric artery without interruption of blood flow (14, 15). The perfusate consisted of a modified Krebs-Henseleit solution (MKHS) containing 118.0 NaCl; 1.2 KCl; 1.18 KH2PO4; 1.18 MgSO4.7H2O; 2.50 CaCl2 and 25.0 NaHCO3 in mmoles/L. Six grams of bovine serum albumin (BSA) were added to 100 mL of MKHS, and dialyzed for 48 hours at 4°C against ten volumes of MKHS. Immediately before the beginning of each perfusion protocol, 100 mg of urea, 50 mg of inulin and 50 mg of glucose were added to every 100 mL of perfusate and pH was adjusted to 7.4. Each experiment lasted 120 minutes and the recirculating perfusion system employed 100 mL of MKHS.

Perfusion pressure (PP) was measured at the tip of the stainless steel cannula in the renal artery. Samples of urine and perfusate were collected at 10-minute intervals for analysis of sodium and potassium level by flame photometry; inulin was determined by direct hydrolysis and osmolality was measured in a vapor pressure osmometer (Wescor 5100C, USA) (16). The Thalassophryne nattereri venom and antivenom were preincubated at 37°C for 30 minutes before addition in perfusion system. The venom (1 µg/mL), the antivenom alone (1 µg/mL) or venom incubated with antivenom were added to the system 30 minutes after the beginning of each perfusion. Renal vascular resistance (RVR), urinary flow (UF) and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) were determined (17). Results were compared to a control group where the kidneys were perfused with Krebs-Henseleit solution alone. Statistical analysis was performed by means of one-way ANOVA and Bonferroni t-test with the level of significance set at p < 0.05 and n = 6 to each group.

Renal Histological Evaluation

After the renal perfusion experiment, both right and left kidneys were removed and fixed in 10% formaldehyde for histological processing. Kidney tissue was embedded in paraffin, cut into 3- to 5-µm sections, stained with hematoxylin-eosin and further processed for light microscopy (Olympus BX41, USA). The photomicrographs were taken by means of a digital camera (Nikon Coolpix 885, Japan).

Ethical Committee

The experimental protocol was approved by the Federal University of Ceará Ethics Committee on Animal Research.

 

RESULTS

Renal Perfusion

Control group perfused with modified Krebs-Henseleit solution

The renal parameters of the control group remained stable throughout the experimental perfusion period.

Renal effects induced by Thalassophryne nattereri venom

Previous results showed that Thalassophryne nattereri venom can cause alterations of renal function parameters after the 30 minutes of internal control. On the isolated rat kidney T. nattereri venom (1µg/mL) increased the perfusion pressure (Figure 1 - A) and renal vascular resistance (Figure 1 - B) at 60, 90 and 120 minutes. UF (Figure 2 - A) and GFR (Figure 2 - B) were also augmented at 60, 90 and 120 minutes when compared with the control group. However, the venom had no effect on the percent of sodium (%TNa+control = 81.1 ±0.86; %TNa+60 = 78.04 ±1.18; %TNa+90 = 76.16 ±3.34; %TNa+120 = 79.49 ±0.87) and potassium (%TK+control = 72.29 ±1.12; %TK+60 = 75.41 ±0.65; %TK+90 = 71.23 ± 2.55; %TK+120 = 76.62 ±1.04) tubular transport.

 


 

 


 

 

 

Effects of Thalassophryne nattereri antivenom on isolated kidney

The administration of antivenom (1µg/mL) caused a slight increase in: PP (PPcontrol = 110.40 ±1.10 mmHg; PP60 = 115.1 ±1.60 mmHg; PP90 = 113.70 ±4.10 mmHg; PP120 = 129.00 ±8.80 mmHg); RVR (RVRcontrol = 5.36 ±0.14 mmHg/mL.g-1.min-1; RVR60 = 5.60 ±0.17 mmHg/mL.g-1.min-1; RVR90 = 6.02 ±0.25 mmHg/mL.g-1.min-1; RVR120 = 6.26 ±0.46 mmHg/mL.g-1.min-1); in UF (UFcontrol = 0.135 ±0.019 mL.g-1.min-1; UF60 = 0.140 ±0.016 mL.g-1.min-1; UF90 = 0.159 ±0.026 mL.g-1.min-1; UF120 = 0.170 ±0.047 mL.g-1.min-1); in GFR (GFRcontrol = 0.778 ±0.114 mL.g-1.min-1; GFR60 = 0.763 ±0.083 mL.g-1.min-1; GFR90 = 0.850 ±0.382 mL.g-1.min-1; GFR120 = 0.709 ±0.254 mL.g-1.min-1); in %TNa+ (%TNa+control = 81.1 ±0.86; %TNa+60 = 78.04 ±1.18; %TNa+90 = 76.16 ±3.34; %TNa+120 = 79.49 ±0.87) and in %TK+ (%TK+control = 72.29 ±1.12; %TK+60 = 75.41 ±0.65; %TK+90 = 71.23 ±2.55; %TK+120 = 76.62 ±1.04) tubular transport. The effects of Thalassophryne nattereri antivenom on isolated kidney were not significant when compared with the control group.

Antivenom action on renal effects provoked by Thalassophryne nattereri venom

The antivenom was able reverted the renal effects induced by Thalassophryne nattereri venom (Figures 1 and 2). Antivenom (1µg/mL) incubated with venom (1µg/mL) inhibited in about 15% the increase of PP and RVR. UF was reduced in 29%, 48% and 69% respectively at 60, 90 and 120 minutes and GFR was diminished in 38%, 42% and 79% at 60, 90 and 120 minutes, respectively.

Results of Histological Alterations in Kidney

Analysis of the control group showed small amount of a proteinaceous material in the renal tubules, although no alteration in the urinary space was detected. The group perfused only with the venom showed a moderate deposit of a proteinaceous material in the tubules and urinary space (8). The group perfused only with the antivenom presented small amount of a proteinaceous material in the renal tubules, similar to the control group. The kidneys perfused with venom plus antivenom presented a mild deposit of proteinaceous material in the urinary space of the glomeruli as well as in the lumina of tubules.

 

DISCUSSION

Accidents caused by Thalassophryne nattereri represent a medical problem in the northeast of Brazil (1-4). Animal experimentation proved that venom administration can produce nociception, edema, necrosis and lethality (5). Furthermore, venom injection into footpads of mice can provoke local inflammatory lesions, similar to those described in humans (5).

Thalassophryne nattereri venom also causes damage in skeletal muscle due to myotoxic effects and vascular alterations followed by impairing regenerative processes (6). We have recently shown that this venom is capable of modifying renal physiology, interfering especially on vascular parameters of isolated rat kidney. These alterations were probably due to myotoxic agents or to a direct effect of the venom on renal cells causing the release of vasoactive factors (8).

It was demonstrated through in vitro neutralization assays that antivenom administered to rabbits can completely neutralize the necrotic and nociceptive effects induced by T. nattereri venom, therefore justifying the use of serum therapy as an efficient treatment for this type of envenomation (11,18).

As far as we know, the efficiency of T. nattereri antivenom in decreasing renal effects induced by T. nattereri venom had not been tested. In this study, we observed that T. nattereri venom previously incubated with antivenom is able to reduce PP, RVR, UF and GFR. An equal proportion of antivenom is necessary to cause a significant reduction of renal effects provoked by the venom. This is an important finding that shows the efficiency of the antivenom against venom effects on the kidney.

Histological results revealed that the antivenom was able to reduce proteinaceous deposits in the urinary space and renal tubule.

In conclusion, antibodies obtained by a persistent immune response in horses were able to diminish the effects of T. nattereri venom on isolated rat kidney. The results also support the possible use of antivenom therapy in treatment of envenomation produced by this fish.

 

REFERENCES

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Correspondence to:
Helena Serra Azul Monteiro
Departamento de Fisiologia e Farmacologia, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal do Ceará
Rua Cel. Nunes de Melo, 1127
Fortaleza, CE, 60.430-370, Brasil
Phone: +55 85 3366 8437. Fax: +55 85 3366 5212
Email: martinsalice@gmail.com; serrazul@baydenet.com.br.

Received: July 4, 2008
Accepted:
August 20, 2008
Abstract published online:
October 13, 2008
Full paper published online:
February 28, 2009
Conflicts of interest: There is no conflict.

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