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Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases, Volume: 19, Published: 2013
  • CEVAP journal towards a new phase Editorial

    Barraviera, Benedito
  • What is the most dangerous snake? Letter to the Editor

    McCue, Marshall D

    Abstract in English:

    Letter to Editor of Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins.
  • Dangerous snakes, deadly snakes and medically important snakes Letter to the editor

    Silva, Anjana

    Abstract in English:

    This correspondence argues that the dangerousness of a venomous snake species is not solely determined by the venom characteristics or the lethality of the snake, and recognizes that medical importance comprises a key variable as well. The medical importance of a snake is determined by several factors - including frequency of medical attention after a bite, local or systemic envenomation provoked by the bite, fatal bites, long term consequences, availability of antivenom therapy as well as the size of the population at risk - that may vary from one region to another.
  • Is the population of Crotalus durissus (Serpentes, Viperidae) expanding in Brazil? Letter to the Editor

    Duarte, Marcelo Ribeiro; Menezes, Frederico Alcântara

    Abstract in English:

    Crotalus durissus are found from Mexico to northern Argentina in a highly disjunct distribution. According to some studies, this species is prone to occupy areas disturbed by human activities and floods comprise a plausible method of dispersal as inferred for some North American rattlesnakes. Based on the literature, it seems plausible that Crotalus durissus expanded their natural distribution in Brazil due to floods, but only in a few municipalities in Rio de Janeiro State. Data entries of Butantan Institute, in São Paulo, Brazil, from 1998 to 2012 show a declining tendency of snakes brought by donors. In addition, research shows no evidence of Crotalus durissus being an expanding species in the Brazilian territory.
  • Isolated biomolecules of pharmacological interest in hemostasis from Cerastes cerastes venom Review

    Chérifi, Fatah; Laraba-Djebari, Fatima

    Abstract in English:

    Biomolecules from Cerastes cerastes venom have been purified and characterized. Two phospholipases isolated from Cerastes cerastes venom share 51% of homology. CC2-PLA2 exhibits antiplatelet activity that blocks coagulation. CCSV-MPase, a non-hemorrhagic Zn2+-metalloproteinase, significantly reduced the plasmatic fibrinogen level and hydrolyzes only its Bβ chain. Serine proteinases such as RP34, afaâcytin and CC3-SPase hydrolyze the fibrinogen and are respectively α, αβ and αβ fibrinogenases. In deficient human plasma, afaâcytin replaces the missing factors VIII and IX, and activates purified human factor X into factor Xa. It releases serotonin from platelets and directly aggregates human (but not rabbit) blood platelets. RP34 proteinase also had no effect on both human and rabbit blood platelet aggregation. CC3-SPase revealed a pro-coagulant activity. However, the insolubility of the obtained clot indicates that CC3-SPase does not activate factor XIII. In addition, CC3-SPase clotting activity was carried out with human plasmas from volunteer patients deficient in clotting factors. Results showed that CC3-SPase shortens clotting time of plasma deficient in factors II and VII but with weaker clotting than normal plasma. The clotting time of plasma deficient in factor II is similar to that obtained with normal plasma; suggesting that CC3-SPase is able to replace both factors IIa and VII in the coagulation cascade and thus could be involved in the blood clotting process via an extrinsic pathway. These results imply that CC3-SPase and afaâcytin could repair hemostatic abnormalities and may replace some factors missing in pathological deficiency. Afaâcytin also exhibits α fibrinase property similar to a plasmin-like proteinase. Despite its thrombin-like characteristics, afaâcytin is not inhibited by plasmatic thrombin inhibitors. The procoagulant properties of afaâcytin might have potential clinical applications.
  • Injuries by marine and freshwater stingrays: history, clinical aspects of the envenomations and current status of a neglected problem in Brazil Review

    Junior, Vidal Haddad; Cardoso, João Luiz Costa; Neto, Domingos Garrone

    Abstract in English:

    Stingrays are a group of rays – cartilaginous fish related to sharks – that have whiplike tails with barbed, usually venomous spines and are found around the world, especially the marine species. Despite recent reports of accidents involving these fish, they are not aggressive, reacting only when stepped on or improperly handled. Injuries by stingrays are seldom mentioned by historians, although they have always been present in riverine communities of inland waters and in South American coasts. Indeed, envenomations by stingrays are quite common in freshwater and marine fishing communities. Although having high morbidity, such injuries are neglected because they have low lethality and usually occur in remote areas, which favor the use of folk remedies. In the present review article, historical aspects of injuries caused by stingrays in Brazil and their distribution on the coast of São Paulo state and riverine communities of the North, Midwest and Southeast regions were studied. In addition, other aspects were analyzed such as clinical features, therapeutic methods, preventive measures and trends in occurrence of these accidents in the country, particularly in areas in which freshwater stingrays had not been previously registered, being introduced after breaching of natural barriers.
  • Mad, bad and dangerous to know: the biochemistry, ecology and evolution of slow loris venom Review

    Nekaris, K Anne-Isola; Moore, Richard S; Rode, E Johanna; Fry, Bryan G

    Abstract in English:

    Only seven types of mammals are known to be venomous, including slow lorises (Nycticebus spp.). Despite the evolutionary significance of this unique adaptation amongst Nycticebus, the structure and function of slow loris venom is only just beginning to be understood. Here we review what is known about the chemical structure of slow loris venom. Research on a handful of captive samples from three of eight slow loris species reveals that the protein within slow loris venom resembles the disulphide-bridged heterodimeric structure of Fel-d1, more commonly known as cat allergen. In a comparison of N. pygmaeus and N. coucang, 212 and 68 compounds were found, respectively. Venom is activated by combining the oil from the brachial arm gland with saliva, and can cause death in small mammals and anaphylactic shock and death in humans. We examine four hypotheses for the function of slow loris venom. The least evidence is found for the hypothesis that loris venom evolved to kill prey. Although the venom's primary function in nature seems to be as a defense against parasites and conspecifics, it may also serve to thwart olfactory-orientated predators. Combined with numerous other serpentine features of slow lorises, including extra vertebra in the spine leading to snake-like movement, serpentine aggressive vocalisations, a long dark dorsal stripe and the venom itself, we propose that venom may have evolved to mimic cobras (Naja sp.). During the Miocene when both slow lorises and cobras migrated throughout Southeast Asia, the evolution of venom may have been an adaptive strategy against predators used by slow lorises as a form of Müllerian mimicry with spectacled cobras.
  • Public health aspects of snakebite care in West Africa: perspectives from Nigeria Review

    Habib, Abdulrazaq G

    Abstract in English:

    Snakebite envenoming is a major public health problem among rural communities of the Nigerian savanna. The saw-scaled or carpet viper (Echis ocellatus) and, to a lesser extent, the African cobras (Naja spp.) and puff adders (Bitis arietans) have proved to be the most important cause of mortality and morbidity. The main clinical features of E. ocellatus envenoming are systemic hemorrhage, incoagulable blood, shock, local swelling, bleeding and, occasionally, necrosis. Bites may be complicated by amputation, blindness, disability, disfigurement, mutilation, tissue destruction and psychological consequences. Antivenom remains the hallmark and mainstay of envenoming management while studies in Nigeria confirm its protection of over 80% against mortality from carpet-viper bites. However, the availability, distribution and utilization of antivenom remain challenging although two new antivenoms (monospecific EchiTab G and trispecific EchiTab ICP-Plus) derived from Nigerian snake venoms have proven very effective and safe in clinical trials. A hub-and-spoke strategy is suggested for broadening antivenom access to endemic rural areas together with instituting quality assurance, standardization and manpower training. With the advent of antivenomics, national health authorities must be aided in selecting and purchasing antivenoms appropriate to their national needs while manufacturers should be helped in practical ways to improve the safety, efficacy and potential coverage against snake venoms and pricing of their products.
  • The international view of envenoming in Brazil: myths and realities Review

    Bochner, Rosany

    Abstract in English:

    Being distant from Brazil's great natural diversity, from its long tradition in the study of snakebites and from the fact that it is one of the few countries which has a national information system for monitoring incidents involving venomous animals, non-Brazilian researchers face risks when estimating the incidence of these accidents in the country. The present work offers a critical review of the main estimates undertaken since 1954. It is interesting to note contradictions between textual and graphic information within the same article, variations over time in the work of a same researcher and differences among distinct authors, and that all these issues remain unmentioned or undiscussed. Comparison among such estimates and the data available at the Brazilian Information System on Diseases of Compulsory Declaration (Sistema de Informação de Agravos de Notificação - SINAN) creates an opportunity to identify the degree of imprecision present in those articles, and draws attention to the need for the production of studies at both the regional and national levels, based on concrete data collected at national, state and municipal levels, which has been available on the internet since 2001.
  • Challenges and perspectives of Chagas disease: a review Review

    Pereira, Paulo Câmara Marques; Navarro, Elaine Cristina

    Abstract in English:

    Chagas disease (CD), also known as American trypanosomiasis, is caused by the flagellated protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, and affects an estimated 8 to 10 million people worldwide. In Latin America, 25 million people live in risk areas, while in 2008 alone, 10,000 CD-related deaths were reported. This review aimed to evaluate the challenges of CD control, future perspectives, and actions performed worldwide to control expansion of the disease and its impact on public health in Latin America.
  • Correlation between annual activity patterns of venomous snakes and rural people in the Niger Delta, southern Nigeria Research

    Akani, Godfrey C; Ebere, Nwabueze; Franco, Daniel; Eniang, Edem A; Petrozzi, Fabio; Politano, Edoardo; Luiselli, Luca

    Abstract in English:

    Background Venomous snakes are among the most serious health hazards for rural people in tropical regions of the world. Herein we compare the monthly activity patterns of eight venomous snake species (Elapidae and Viperidae) with those of rural people in the Niger Delta area of southern Nigeria, in order to identify the periods of highest potential risk for persons, and the human group actually at greater risk of snakebite. Results We documented that above-ground activity of all venomous snakes peaked in the wet season, and that high snake activity and high human activity were most highly correlated between April and August. In addition, we documented that women and teenagers were at relatively higher risk of encountering a venomous snake than adult males, despite they are less often in the field than men. Conclusions Our results suggest that future programs devoted to mitigate the social and health effects of snakebites in the Niger Delta region should involve especially women and teenagers, with ad-hoc education projects if appropriate. We urge that international organizations working on social and health problems in the developing world, such as IRD, DFID, UNDP, should provide advice through specific programs targeted at especially these categories which have been highlighted in comparatively potential higher threat from snakebites than adult men.
  • In vivo evaluation of homeostatic effects of Echis carinatus snake venom in Iran Research

    Salmanizadeh, Hossein; Babaie, Mahdi; Zolfagharian, Hossein

    Abstract in English:

    Background The venom of the family Viperidae, including the saw-scaled viper, is rich in serine proteinases and metalloproteinases, which affect the nervous system, complementary system, blood coagulation, platelet aggregation and blood pressure. One of the most prominent effects of the snake venom of Echis carinatus (Ec) is its coagulation activity, used for killing prey. Materials and methods Subfractions F1A and F1B were isolated from Ec crude venom by a combination of gel chromatography (Sephadex G-75) and ion exchange chromatography on a DEAE-Sepharose (DE-52). These subfractions were then intravenously (IV) injected into NIH male mice. Blood samples were taken before and after the administration of these subfractions. Times for prothrombin, partial thromboplastin and fibrinogen were recorded. Results and conclusions Comparison of the prothrombin time before and after F1A and F1B administrations showed that time for blood coagulation after injection is shorter than that of normal blood coagulation and also reduced coagulation time after Ec crude venom injection. This difference in coagulation time shows the intense coagulation activity of these subfractions that significantly increase the coagulation cascade rate and Causes to quick blood coagulation. The LD50 of the Ec crude venom was also determined to be 11.1 μg/mouse. Different crude venom doses were prepared with physiological serum and injected into four mice. Comparison of the prothrombin times after injection of subfractions F1A and F1B showed that the rate of mouse blood coagulation increases considerably. Comparing the partial thromboplastin times after injecting these subfractions with this normal test time showed that the activity rate of intrinsic blood coagulation system rose sharply in mice. Finally, by comparing the fibrinogen time after subfraction injections and normal test time, we can infer intense activation of coagulation cascade and fibrin production.
  • Comparison between two methods of scorpion venom milking in Morocco Research

    Oukkache, Naoual; Chgoury, Fatima; Lalaoui, Mekki; Cano, Alejandro Alagón; Ghalim, Noreddine

    Abstract in English:

    Background The present study compared two methods used successfully in a large-scale program for the collection of scorpion venoms, namely the milking of adult scorpions via manual and electrical stimulation. Results Our immunobiochemical characterizations clearly demonstrate that regularly applied electrical stimulation obtains scorpion venom more easily and, most importantly, in greater quantity. Qualitatively, the electrically collected venom showed lack of hemolymph contaminants such as hemocyanin. In contrast, manual obtainment of venom subjects scorpions to maximal trauma, leading to hemocyanin secretion. Our study highlighted the importance of reducing scorpion trauma during venom milking. Conclusions In conclusion, to produce high quality antivenom with specific antibodies, it is necessary to collect venom by the gentler electrical stimulation method.
  • Use of antivenoms for the treatment of envenomation by Elapidae snakes in Guinea, Sub-Saharan Africa Research

    Baldé, Mamadou C; Chippaux, Jean-Philippe; Boiro, Mamadou Y; Stock, Roberto P; Massougbodji, Achille

    Abstract in English:

    Background In Guinea Elapids are responsible for 20% of envenomations. The associated case fatality rate (CFR) ranged 15-27%, irrespective of treatment. Results We studied 77 neurotoxic envenomations divided in 3 groups: a set of patients that received only traditional or symptomatic treatments, and two other groups that received either 2 or 4 initial vials of Antivipmyn® Africa renewed as necessary. CFR was 27.3%, 15.4% and 17.6%, respectively. Although antivenom treatment was likely to reduce CFR, it didn’t seem to have an obvious clinical benefit for the patients, suggesting a low treatment efficacy. Mean delay to treatment or clinical stages were not significantly different between the patients who recovered and the patients who died, or between groups. Interpretation of these results is complicated by the lack of systematic studies under comparable conditions. Of particular importance is the absence of assisted ventilation, available to patients in all the other clinical studies of neurotoxic envenomation. Conclusion The apparent lack of clinical benefit may have several causes. The hypothesis of a limited therapeutic window, i.e. an insufficient formation of antigen-antibody complexes once toxins are bound to their targets and/or distributed beyond the reach of antivenom, should be explored.
  • Effects of atropine and propranolol on lung inflammation in experimental envenomation: comparison of two buthidae venoms Research

    Saidi, Hadjer; Adi-Bessalem, Sonia; Hammoudi-Triki, Djelila; Laraba-Djebari, Fatima

    Abstract in English:

    Background Previous works had shown that scorpion venom induced neurotransmitter elevation and an inflammatory response associated with various anatomo-pathological modifications. The most dangerous scorpions species in Algeria responsible for these effects are Androctonus australis hector (Aah) and Androctonus amoreuxi (Aam). Results Comparison of the physiopathological effects induced by the two venoms showed differences in the kinetic of cytokine release and in lung injury. The lung edema was only observed in response to Aah venom and it was correlated with cell infiltration. In order to better understand the involved mechanism in inflammatory response, we used two antagonists, atropine (non-selective muscarinic antagonist) and propranolol (β adrenergic antagonist), which lead to a decrease of cell infiltration but has no effect on edema forming. Conclusion These results suggest another pathway in the development of lung injury following envenomation with Aam or Aah venom.
  • Characteristics of hemolytic activity induced by skin secretions of the frog Kaloula pulchra hainana Research

    Wei, Shuangshuang; Chi, Tingting; Meng, Aiyun; Chen, Congwei; An, Tianchen; Wang, Manchuriga; Zhang, Yingxia

    Abstract in English:

    Background The hemolytic activity of skin secretions obtained by stimulating the frog Kaloula pulchra hainana with diethyl ether was tested using human, cattle, rabbit, and chicken erythrocytes. The skin secretions had a significant concentration-dependent hemolytic effect on erythrocytes. The hemolytic activity of the skin secretions was studied in the presence of osmotic protectants (polyethylene glycols and carbohydrates), cations (Mg2+, Ca2+, Ba2+, Cu2+, and K+), or antioxidants (ascorbic acid, reduced glutathione, and cysteine). Results Depending on their molecular mass, osmotic protectants effectively inhibited hemolysis. The inhibition of skin hemolysis was observed after treatment with polyethylene glycols (1000, 3400, and 6000 Da). Among divalent cations, only 1 mM Cu2+ markedly inhibited hemolytic activity. Antioxidant compounds slightly reduced the hemolytic activity. Conclusions The results suggested that skin secretions of K. pulchra hainana induce a pore-forming mechanism to form pores with a diameter of 1.36-2.0 nm rather than causing oxidative damage to the erythrocyte membrane.
  • Conus vexillum venom induces oxidative stress in Ehrlich's ascites carcinoma cells: an insight into the mechanism of induction Research

    Abdel-Rahman, Mohamed A; Abdel-Nabi, Ismail M; El-Naggar, Mohamed S; Abbas, Osama A; Strong, Peter N

    Abstract in English:

    Background It is estimated that venoms of marine cone snails (genus Conus) contain more than 100,000 different small peptides with a wide range of pharmacological and biological actions. Some of these peptides were developed into potential therapeutic agents and as molecular tools to understand biological functions of nervous and cardiovascular systems. In this study we examined the cytotoxic and anticancer properties of the marine vermivorous cone snail Conus vexillum (collected from Hurgada and Sharm El-Shaikh, Red Sea, Egypt) and suggest the possible mechanisms involved. The in vitro cytotoxic effects of Conus venom were assessed against Ehrlich’s ascites carcinoma (EAC) cells. Results Conus venom treatment resulted in concentration-dependent cytotoxicity as indicated by a lactate dehydrogenase leakage assay. Apoptotic effects were measured in vivo by measuring levels of reactive oxygen species and oxidative defense agents in albino mice injected with EAC cells. Conus venom (1.25 mg/kg) induced a significant increase ( p < 0.05) in several oxidative stress biomarkers (lipid peroxidation, protein carbonyl content and reactive nitrogen intermediates) of EAC cells after 3, 6, 9 and 12 hours of venom injection. Conus venom significantly reduced ( p < 0.05) the activities of oxidative defense enzymes (catalase and superoxide dismutase) as well as the total antioxidant capacity of EAC cells, as evidenced by lowered levels of reduced glutathione. Conclusions These results demonstrate the cytotoxic potential of C. vexillum venom by inducing oxidative stress mediated mechanisms in tumor cells and suggest that the venom contains novel molecules with potential anticancer activity.
  • Toxins from the Caribbean sea anemone Bunodeopsis globulifera increase cisplatin-induced cytotoxicity of lung adenocarcinoma cells Research

    Monroy-Estrada, Heidi I; Chirino, Yolanda I; Soria-Mercado, Irma E; Sánchez-Rodríguez, Judith

    Abstract in English:

    Background Lung cancer causes 1.4 million deaths worldwide while non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) represents 80-85% of the cases. Cisplatin is a standard chemotherapy against this type of cancer; however, tumor cell resistance to this drug limits its efficacy. Sea anemones produce compounds with pharmacological activities that may be useful for augmenting cisplatin efficacy. This study aimed to evaluate the pharmacological activities of crude venom (CV) from the sea anemone Bunodeopsis globulifera and four derived fractions (F1, F2, F3 and F4) to test their increase efficiency cisplatin cytotoxicity in human lung adenocarcinoma cells. Results Pre-exposure to CV, F1 and F2 fractions increases cisplatin cytotoxicity in human lung adenocarcinoma cells under specific conditions. Exposure to CV at 50 μgmL-1 induced a reduction of approximately 50% in cell viability, while a similar cytotoxic effect was observed when cell culture was exposed to F1 at 25 μgmL -1 or F2 at 50 μgmL-1. The cell culture exposure to F1 (10 μgmL-1) fraction combined with cisplatine (25 μM) provoked a decrease in MTT reduction until 65.57% while F2 (25 μgmL-1) fraction combined with cisplatin (10 μM) provoked a decrease in MTT reduction of 72.55%. Conclusions The F1 fraction had the greatest effect on the lung adenocarcinoma cell line compared with CV and F2. The combination of antineoplastic drugs and sea anemone toxins might allow a reduction of chemotherapeutic doses and thus mitigate side effects.
  • The Cuban scorpion Rhopalurus junceus (Scorpiones, Buthidae): component variations in venom samples collected in different geographical areas Research

    Rodríguez-Ravelo, Rodolfo; Coronas, Fredy I V; Zamudio, Fernando Z; González-Morales, Lidia; López, Georgina Espinosa; Urquiola, Ariel Ruiz; Possani, Lourival D

    Abstract in English:

    Backgound The venom of the Cuban scorpion Rhopalurus junceus is poorly study from the point of view of their components at molecular level and the functions associated. The purpose of this article was to conduct a proteomic analysis of venom components from scorpions collected in different geographical areas of the country. Results Venom from the blue scorpion, as it is called, was collected separately from specimens of five distinct Cuban towns (Moa, La Poa, Limonar, El Chote and Farallones) of the Nipe-Sagua-Baracoa mountain massif and fractionated by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC); the molecular masses of each fraction were ascertained by mass spectrometry analysis. At least 153 different molecular mass components were identified among the five samples analyzed. Molecular masses varied from 466 to 19755 Da. Scorpion HPLC profiles differed among these different geographical locations and the predominant molecular masses of their components. The most evident differences are in the relative concentration of the venom components. The most abundant components presented molecular weights around 4 kDa, known to be K+-channel specific peptides, and 7 kDa, known to be Na+-channel specific peptides, but with small molecular weight differences. Approximately 30 peptides found in venom samples from the different geographical areas are identical, supporting the idea that they all probably belong to the same species, with some interpopulational variations. Differences were also found in the presence of phospholipase, found in venoms from the Poa area (molecular weights on the order of 14 to 19 kDa). The only ubiquitous enzyme identified in the venoms from all five localities studied (hyaluronidase) presented the same 45 kD molecular mass, identified by gel electrophoresis analysis. Conclusions The venom of these scorpions from different geographical areas seem to be similar, and are rich in peptides that have of the same molecular masses of the peptides purified from other scorpions that affect ion-channel functions.
  • Humoral immune response in dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies in southeastern Brazil Research

    Albas, Avelino; Picolo, Miléia Ricci; Soares, Célio Nereu; Bachega, Hugo Vagner Ulbano; Tarumoto, Mário Hissamitsu

    Abstract in English:

    Background Brazil holds annual nationwide public campaigns to vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies. The presence of rabies antibodies in these animals, which are among the main transmitters of rabies to humans, is a good indicator that they are immunized and protected. Methods In the present study we analyzed 834 serum samples from dogs and cats from the Southeast of Brazil (Presidente Prudente and Dracena cities), 12 months after the 2009 vaccination campaign. We used the technique known as rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT) and considered reactant those sera with values higher 0.5 IU/mL. Results and discussion Reactant sample results in Presidente Prudente were 153 (51.0%) for dogs and 59 (32.6%) for cats, and in Dracena 110 (52.1%) for dogs and 71 (50.0%) for cats. We discussed vaccine coverage of animals involved in this experiment, and observed low titers < 0.5 IU/mL, especially in cats from Presidente Prudente. Conclusion According to the results presented in our experiment, we suggest that titers below 0.5 IU/mL are worrisome and that, for multiple reasons, animals should be immunized against rabies in the period between public vaccination campaigns. Hence, the desired vaccine coverage was not accomplished, especially among cats from Presidente Prudente.
  • Resistance of cervical adenocarcinoma cells (HeLa) to venom from the scorpion Centruroides limpidus limpidus Research

    Contreras-Ortiz, José María Eloy; Vázquez-Chagoyán, Juan Carlos; Martínez-Castañeda, José Simón; Estrada-Franco, José Guillermo; Aparicio-Burgos, José Esteban; Acosta-Dibarrat, Jorge; Barbabosa-Pliego, Alberto

    Abstract in English:

    Background : The venom of Centruroides limpidus limpidus (Cll) is a mixture of pharmacologically active principles. The most important of these are toxic proteins that interact both selectively and specifically with different cellular targets such as ion channels. Recently, anticancer properties of the venom from other scorpion species have been described. Studies in vitro have shown that scorpion venom induces cell death, inhibits proliferation and triggers the apoptotic pathway in different cancer cell lines. Herein, after treating human cervical adenocarcinoma (HeLa) cells with Cll crude venom, their cytotoxic activity and apoptosis induction were assessed. Results : Cll crude venom induced cell death in normal macrophages in a dose-dependent manner. However, through viability assays, HeLa cells showed high survival rates after exposure to Cll venom. Also, Cll venom did not induce apoptosis after performing ethidium bromide/acridine orange assays, nor was there any evidence of chromatin condensation or DNA fragmentation. Conclusions : Crude Cll venom exposure was not detrimental to HeLa cell cultures. This may be partially attributable to the absence of specific HeLa cell membrane targets for molecules present in the venom of Centruroides limpidus limpidus. Although these results might discourage additional studies exploring the potential of Cll venom to treat human papilloma cervical cancer, further research is required to explore positive effects of crude Cll venom on other cancer cell lines.
  • Hemolytic activity of venom from crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster planci spines Research

    Lee, Chi-Chiu; Tsai, Wann-Sheng; Hsieh, Hernyi Justin; Hwang, Deng-Fwu

    Abstract in English:

    Background : The crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster planci is a venomous species from Taiwan whose venom provokes strong hemolytic activity. To understand the hemolytic properties of A. planci venom, samples were collected from A. planci spines in the Penghu Islands, dialyzed with distilled water, and lyophilized into A. planci spine venom (ASV) powder. Results : Both crude venom and ASV cause 50% hemolysis at a concentration of 20 μg/mL. The highest hemolytic activity of ASV was measured at pH 7.0-7.4; ASV-dependent hemolysis was sharply reduced when the pH was lower than 3 or greater than 8. There was almost no hemolytic activity when the Cu2+ concentration was increased to 10 mM. Furthermore, incubation at 100°C for 30 to 60 minutes sharply decreased the hemolytic activity of ASV. After treatment with the protease α-chymotrypsin, the glycoside hydrolase cellulase, and the membrane component cholesterin, the hemolytic activity of ASV was significantly inhibited. Conclusions : The results of this study provide fundamental information about A. planci spine venom. The hemolytic activity was affected by pH, temperature, metal ions, EDTA, cholesterin, proteases, and glycoside hydrolases. ASV hemolysis was inhibited by Cu2+, cholesterin, α-chymotrypsin, and cellulose, factors that might prevent the hemolytic activity of venom and provide the medical treatment for sting.
  • Toxoplasmosis, leptospirosis and brucellosis in stray dogs housed at the shelter in Umuarama municipality, Paraná, Brazil Research

    Dreer, Márcia Küster de Paula; Gonçalves, Daniela Dib; Caetano, Isabel Cristina da Silva; Gerônimo, Edson; Menegas, Paulo Henrique; Bergo, Danilo; Lopes-Mori, Fabiana Maria Ruiz; Benitez, Aline; Freitas, Julio Cesar de; Evers, Fernanda; Navarro, Italmar Teodorico; Martins, Lisiane de Almeida

    Abstract in English:

    Background : Leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis and brucellosis are diseases with worldwide distribution. Among stray dogs, these zoonoses are facilitated by direct contact with other animal species, by the habit of scavenging garbage and hunting in search of food, drinking standing water, smelling other animals' urine, licking female genitalia and the sexual act itself. The objective of this study was to detect antibodies anti-Toxoplasma gondii, anti-Leptospira spp., anti-Brucella canis and anti-Brucella abortus in stray dogs housed in shelters at Umuarama city, Paraná, Brazil. In order to detect toxoplasmosis, indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) was performed, agglutination microscopic (MAT) test for leptospirosis and agar gel immunodiffusion (AGID) and buffered acidified antigen (BAA) tests for brucellosis. Results : Of the 175 serum samples analyzed, 70.85% were considered positive for toxoplasmosis by IFA, 20% by MAT for leptospirosis and 2.85% by AGID for Brucella canis. Conclusions : The serological results of this study showed that stray dogs housed at the private shelter are potential carriers of these three different zoonoses and contribute to the spread and maintenance of these etiologic agents in the urban area of Umuarama (PR), Brazil.
  • Vasoconstrictor effect of Africanized honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) venom on rat aorta Research

    Sousa, Paulo César P; Brito, Teresinha S; Freire, Daniel S; Ximenes, Rafael M; Magalhães, Pedro Jorge C; Monteiro, Helena SA; Alves, Renata S; Martins, Alice Maria C; Toyama, Daniela O; Toyama, Marcos H

    Abstract in English:

    Background :Apis mellifera stings are a problem for public health worldwide, particularly in Latin America due to the aggressiveness of its Africanized honeybees. Massive poisoning by A. mellifera venom (AmV) affects mainly the cardiovascular system, and several works have described its actions on heart muscle. Nevertheless, no work on the pharmacological action mechanisms of the AmV in isolated aorta has been reported. Thus, the present work aimed to investigate the actions of AmV and its main fractions, phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and melittin, on isolated aorta rings and a probable action mechanism. Results : AmV and the complex PLA2 + melittin (0.1-50 μg/mL) caused contraction in endothelium-containing aorta rings, but neither isolated PLA2 nor melittin were able to reproduce the effect. Endothelium removal did not change the maximum vasoconstrictor effect elicited by AmV. Ca2+-free medium, as well as treatment with phentolamine (5 μM), verapamil (10 μM), losartan (100 μM), and U-73122 (10 μM, a phospholipase C inhibitor), eliminated the AmV-induced contractile effects. Conclusions : In conclusion, AmV caused contractile effect in aorta rings probably through the involvement of voltage-operated calcium channels, AT1 and α-adrenergic receptors via the downstream activation of phospholipase C. The protein complex, PLA2 + melittin, was also able to induce vasoconstriction, whereas the isolated proteins were not.
  • Potentiation of a novel palladium (II) complex lethality with bee venom on the human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cell line (MOLT-4) Research

    Safaeinejad, Zahra; Mohammad Nabiuni,; Nazari, Zahra

    Abstract in English:

    Background : Although honeybee venom (BV) has been reported to induce apoptosis in different types of cancerous cells, its synergistic effects with customary anti-cancer drugs remain largely unknown. In the present study, we evaluated the cytotoxic effect of BV alone (as a natural product) and the synergistic cytological effects of this component in combination with [Pd (bpy) (Pi-Pydtc)]NO3 - a novel palladium complex on human T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia cells. To investigate the cytotoxic effect of the BV alone and in combination with palladium complex on MOLT-4 cells MTT assay was performed. In order to determine the apoptotic effects of BV separately and in combination with Pd (II) complex on these cells and its ability to induce apoptosis, morphological examination, flowcytometric analysis and caspase-3 colorimetric assay were done. Results : We found that BV induced morphological changes, namely nuclear shrinkage, and inhibited MOLT-4 cell proliferation; both effects were dose- and time-dependent. Flow cytometry by Annexin-V antibody demonstrated that BV induced apoptosis in MOLT-4 cells. Furthermore, BV induced apoptosis independently of caspase-3 in these cells. In addition, we proved a clear synergistic effect of BV on [Pd (bpy) (Pi-Pydtc)]NO3. The apoptotic pathway activated by BV in combination with Pd complex was caspase-3-dependent. Conclusions : These observations provide an explanation for the anti-proliferative properties of BV, and suggest that this agent may be useful for treating lymphoblastic leukemia alone or in combination with chemotherapy drugs pending further investigations on animal models as preclinical tests.
  • A bradykinin-potentiating peptide (BPP-10c) from Bothrops jararaca induces changes in seminiferous tubules Research

    Gilio, Joyce M; Portaro, Fernanda CV; Borella, Maria I; Lameu, Claudiana; Camargo, Antonio CM; Alberto-Silva, Carlos

    Abstract in English:

    Background The testis-specific isoform of angiotensin-converting enzyme (tACE) is exclusively expressed in germ cells during spermatogenesis. Although the exact role of tACE in male fertility is unknown, it clearly plays a critical function in spermatogenesis. The dipeptidase domain of tACE is identical to the C-terminal catalytic domain of somatic ACE (sACE). Bradykinin potentiating peptides (BPPs) from snake venoms are the first natural sACE inhibitors described and their structure-activity relationship studies were the basis for the development of antihypertensive drugs such as captopril. In recent years, it has been showed that a number of BPPs - including BPP-10c - are able to distinguish between the N- and C-active sites of sACE, what is not applicable to captopril. Considering the similarity between tACE and sACE (and since BPPs are able to distinguish between the two active sites of sACE), the effects of the BPP-10c and captopril on the structure and function of the seminiferous epithelium were characterized in the present study. BPP-10c and captopril were administered in male Swiss mice by intraperitoneal injection (4.7 μmol/kg for 15 days) and histological sections of testes were analyzed. Classification of seminiferous tubules and stage analysis were carried out for quantitative evaluation of germ cells of the seminiferous epithelium. The blood-testis barrier (BTB) permeability and distribution of claudin-1 in the seminiferous epithelium were analyzed by hypertonic fixative method and immunohistochemical analyses of testes, respectively. Results The morphology of seminiferous tubules from animals treated with BPP-10c showed an intense disruption of the epithelium, presence of atypical multinucleated cells in the lumen and degenerated germ cells in the adluminal compartment. BPP-10c led to an increase in the number of round spermatids and total support capacity of Sertoli cell in stages I, V, VII/VIII of the seminiferous epithelium cycle, without affecting BTB permeability and the distribution of claudin-1 in the seminiferous epithelium. Interestingly, no morphological or morphometric alterations were observed in animals treated with captopril. Conclusions The major finding of the present study was that BPP-10c, and not captopril, modifies spermatogenesis by causing hyperplasia of round spermatids in stages I, V, and VII/VIII of the spermatogenic cycle.
  • Effect of bee venom on IL-6, COX-2 and VEGF levels in polycystic ovarian syndrome induced in Wistar rats by estradiol valerate RESEARCH

    Karimzadeh, Latifeh; Nabiuni, Mohammad; Kouchesfehani, Homa Mohseni; Adham, Hamed; Bagheri, Amir; Sheikholeslami, Azar

    Abstract in English:

    Background : Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a low-grade inflammatory disease characterized by hyperandrogenemia, hirsutism, chronic anovulation and vascular disorder. Interleukin-6 (IL-6), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are triggered by inflammatory stimuli and lead to angiogenesis and pathogenesis of the ovary. Honeybee venom (HBV) contains an array of biologically active components possessing various pharmaceutical properties. This study was designed to assess the possibility of HBV application as an anti-inflammatory therapeutic agent to suppress levels of the main inflammatory mediators IL-6, COX-2 and VEGF. To induce PCOS, 1 mg of estradiol valerate (EV) per 100 g of body weight was subcutaneously (SC) injected into eight-week-old rats. After 60 days, 0.5 mg/kg of HBV was administered Intraperitoneal (IP) for 14 consecutive days, and the results of PCOS treatment were investigated. Rats were then anesthetized with CO2, and the ovaries were surgically removed. Serum IL-6 was detected by the ELISA kit. Immunoexpression of COX-2 and VEGF were examined in three groups: EV-induced PCOS, HBV-treated PCOS and control animals. Results : Thickness of theca layer, number and diameter of cysts and levels of IL-6 significantly decreased in HBV group relative to PCOS group. The immunohistochemical analysis showed an increase in COX-2 and VEGF expression in PCOS group whereas HBV-treated rats presented weak and irregular immunostaining. Conclusions : Our results suggest that the beneficial effect of HBV may be mediated through its inhibitory effect on serum IL-6 level and ovarian COX-2 and VEGF expression.
  • Cathepsin B/X is secreted by Echinometra lucunter sea urchin spines, a structure rich in granular cells and toxins RESEARCH

    Sciani, Juliana Mozer; Antoniazzi, Marta Maria; Neves, Adriana da Costa; Pimenta, Daniel Carvalho

    Abstract in English:

    Background Echinometra lucunter is a common American sea urchin responsible for the majority of the marine accidents in Brazil. Although not lethal, these accidents are reported to be extremely painful. Recently, our group described the presence of toxins in its spines that contribute to the pathological reactions. Additionally, we have observed that the E. lucunter spines can regenerate when broken. In the present work we evaluated the enzymatic activities of sea urchin spine extracts in order to identify an enzyme that could contribute not only to the toxicity, but also participate in the spine growth and regeneration. Results The spine aqueous extract was tested for peptidase activity, with synthetic substrates, in the presence and absence of inhibitors and activators. For proper enzyme classification, the FRET-substrate cleavage pattern, pH-dependency activity and Western-blot analyses were performed. The spine extract was able to cleave Z-R-MCA and Abz-GIVRAK(Dnp)-OH following pre-incubation with DTT, and was inhibited by E-64. Furthermore, the double-peaked pH curve (5 and 7) and the cleavage site proportion (4:6, R|A:A|K) indicate the presence of both mono and dicarboxypeptidase activities. Moreover, in Western-blot analysis, the spine extract was positive for anti-cathepsin B antibody. Conclusions E. lucunter spines extracts presented a cysteine peptidase activity that was identified as cathepsin B/X that would participate in the remodeling and growth processes of the spine, as well as in the inflammatory response to the accident.
  • Effects of the European hornet ( Vespa crabro Linnaeus 1761) crude venom on its own species Short Report

    Nadolski, Jerzy

    Abstract in English:

    Background Lethal dose 50% is a classical index of toxicity that usually employs small rodents as experimental animals. Therefore, scarce data are available on the effects of venom on invertebrates, particularly the impact of wasp venom on its own species. Findings In the present study, the lethality of Vespa crabro venom on its own species was studied. Lethal dose 50% values of crude venom on workers of hornet Vespa crabro were estimated to be 4.0 mg/kg of body weight. Conclusions Wasps can use their venom apparatus effectively when attacking foreign workers that appear in the immediate vicinity of their nest. The toxins released during stinging are potent enough to kill. The result of this study eliminates the popular myth that venomous animals can be resistant to their own venom.
  • Decrease in hepatitis B prevalence among blood donors in Central-West Brazil Short Report

    Lindenberg, Andréa de Siqueira Campos; Motta-Castro, Ana Rita Coimbra; Puga, Marco Antonio; Ortiz Tanaka, Tayana Serpa; Torres, Marina Sawada; Fernandes-Fitts, Sonia Maria; Cunha, Rivaldo Venancio

    Abstract in English:

    Background The aim of the present study was to estimate hepatitis B virus seroprevalence among first-time blood donors in the city of Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul State, in the central-western region of Brazil. Findings A retrospective analysis of first-time voluntary blood donor records, from January 2010 to December 2010, was conducted at the Hematology Center of Mato Grosso do Sul. The prevalence of the HBsAg and anti-HBc serological markers and their respective 95% confidence intervals were calculated. Chi-square analysis was performed between the seroprevalence previously found in 2001 and the one determined by the current study. Results were considered statistically significant if p < 0.05. Among 8,840 subjects, 269 (3.04%, 95% CI: 2.7-3.4) were positive for HBV markers. The prevalence rate of HBsAg was 0.19% (95% CI: 0.1-0.3) and anti-HBc alone was 2.85% (95% CI: 2.5-3.2). Conclusions There was no statistically significant difference regarding gender. However, an important association was observed between HBV infection and older age ( p < 0.01). The seroprevalence of HBV infection in first-time blood donors diminished from 2001 to 2010 ( p < 0.01). Such decrease suggests an improvement in the recruitment of safe donors, the positive impact of vaccination programs and the decreasing of HBV infection prevalence in the general population.
  • Sandflies (Diptera, Psychodidae) from forest areas in Botucatu municipality, central western São Paulo State, Brazil Short Report

    Cutolo, André Antonio; Galati, Eunice Aparecida Bianchi; Von Zuben, Claudio José

    Abstract in English:

    Background The study of the distribution and ecology of sandfly species is essential for epidemiological surveillance and estimation of the transmission risk of Leishmania spp. infection. Findings In the present study, sandflies were captured in native fragmented forest areas in Rubião Júnior district, Botucatu municipality, São Paulo state, Brazil, between September 2001 and January 2005. A minimum of two automatic light traps were installed per night from 6 pm to 8 am, in different months, resulting in approximately 900 collecting hours. During this period, 216 sandfly specimens of sixteen species were captured. Pintomyia monticola and Brumptomyia guimaraesi were the most abundant with 56 specimens (25.93%) captured per species, followed by Pintomyia fischeri 28 (12.96%) and Psathyromyia pascalei 18 (8.33%). Other captured species were Lutzomyia amarali, Sciopemyia sordellii, Psathyromyia aragaoi , Nyssomyia whitmani, Migonemyia migonei, Pintomyia bianchigalatiae, Pintomyia misionensis, Brumptomyia carvalheiroi , Brumptomyia cardosoi, Brumptomyia cunhai, Brumptomyia nitzulescui, Brumptomyia brumpti and Brumptomyia spp . represented by 58 (26.85%) specimens. Conclusions Although less frequently found, the presence of Pintomyia fischeri, Nyssomyia whitmani and Migonemyia migonei , known vectors of Leishmania braziliensis, indicates risk of American cutaneous leishmaniasis occurrence. Moreover, the absence of Lutzomyia longipalpis -the main vector of Leishmania infantum chagasi, which is the agent of American visceral leishmaniasis-suggests that there is no risk of introduction and establishment of this disease in the studied area.
  • Probable chronic renal failure caused by Lonomia caterpillar envenomation Case Report

    Schmitberger, Poliana Abrantes; Fernandes, Tássia Clara; Santos, Robson Corrêa; de Assis, Rafael Campos; Gomes, Andréia Patrícia; Siqueira, Priscila Karina; Vitorino, Rodrigo Roger; de Mendonça, Eduardo Gomes; de Almeida Oliveira, Maria Goreti; Siqueira-Batista, Rodrigo

    Abstract in English:

    Erucism is a skin reaction to envenomation from certain poisonous caterpillar bristles. In Brazil, most reports of erucism provoked by Lonomia caterpillars are from the southern region. Most manifestations of erucism are local and include burning pain, itching, local hyperthermia and, rarely, blisters (benign symptoms with spontaneous regression in a few hours). General symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, headache, fever, myalgia, abdominal pain and conjunctivitis may also occur. Uncommon symptoms include arthritis, coagulation disorders (manifested as bruising and bleeding), intracerebral hemorrhage and acute renal failure, which comprise serious complications. The present study reports the case of 60-year-old patient from Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, who came into contact with a caterpillar and developed, a few days later, chronic renal disease.
  • Lesions caused by Africanized honeybee stings in three cattle in Brazil Case Report

    Caldas, Saulo Andrade; Graça, Flávio Augusto Soares; de Barros, Júlia Soares Monteiro; Rolim, Márcia Farias; Peixoto, Tiago da Cunha; Peixoto, Paulo Vargas

    Abstract in English:

    We report three cases of stings by Africanized bees in cattle in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Erythema, subcutaneous edema, necrosis accompanied by skin detachment, and subsequent skin regeneration were observed, especially on the head and dewlap. Histopathological examinations performed 45 days later revealed complete skin reepithelialization with moderate dermal fibrosis. The clinical picture and differential diagnosis are discussed in the present manuscript, with a focus on photosensitization, which causes cutaneous lesions on the head (sequela) with cicatricial curving of the ears and can be very similar to what is observed in cattle attacked by swarms of bees. The distinction between photosensitization and bee sting lesions can be made with a focus on history and clinical and pathological aspects.
  • Hepatitis B virus surface antigen seroconversion in HIV-infected individual after pegylated interferon-alpha treatment: a case report Case Report

    Delicio, Adriane Maira; Abati, Paulo Afonso Martins; Vigani, Aline Gonzalez

    Abstract in English:

    Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infects from 6 to 14% of HIV-infected individuals. Concurrent HIV/HBV infection occurs due to the overlapping routes of transmission, particularly sexual and parenteral. HIV-infected patients that have acute hepatitis B have six times greater risk of developing chronic hepatitis B, with higher viral replication, rapid progression to end-stage liver disease and shorter survival. The coinfection is also associated with poor response to hepatitis B treatment with interferon-alpha and increased liver toxicity to the antiretroviral therapy. Herein, we describe the case of a 35-year-old man who engages in sex with men and presented with newly diagnosed HIV-1, serological markers for acute hepatitis B and progression to chronic hepatitis B infection (HBsAg+ > 6 months, high alanine aminotransferase levels and moderate hepatitis as indicated by liver biopsy). Lacking indication of antiretroviral treatment (CD4 768 cells/mm 3 ), he was treated with pegylated-interferon alpha2b (1.5 mg/kg/week) by subcutaneous injection for 48 weeks. Twelve weeks after treatment, the patient presented HBeAg seroconversion to anti-HBe. At the end of 48 weeks, he presented HBsAg seroconversion to anti-HBs. One year after treatment, the patient maintained sustained virological response (undetectable HBV-DNA). The initiation of antiretroviral therapy with nucleosides and nucleotides is recommended earlier for coinfected individuals. However, this report emphasizes that pegylated interferon remains an important therapeutic strategy to be considered for selected patients, in whom the initiation of HAART may be delayed.
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