Abstract in English:Abstract Two years ago, we held an exciting event entitled the São Paulo School of Advanced Sciences on Vaccines (SPSASV). Sixty-eight Ph.D. students, postdoctoral fellows and independent researchers from 37 different countries met at the Mendes Plaza Hotel located in the city of Santos, SP - Brazil to discuss the challenges and the new frontiers of vaccinology. The SPSASV provided a critical and comprehensive view of vaccine research from basics to the current state-of-the-art techniques performed worldwide. For 10 days, we discussed all the aspects of vaccine development in 36 lectures, 53 oral presentations and 2 poster sessions. At the end of the course, participants were further encouraged to present a model of a grant proposal related to vaccine development against individual pathogens. Among the targeted pathogens were viruses (Chikungunya, HIV, RSV, and Influenza), bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Streptococcus pyogenes), parasites (Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax), and the worm Strongyloides stercoralis. This report highlights some of the knowledge shared at the SPSASV.
Abstract in English:Abstract The aim of this contribution is to bring some precise information on the reasons why the number of noxious scorpion species is constantly growing. This fact is directly associated with the zoological research on the domains generally defined as systematics and taxonomy. The classification of any zoological group is in most cases a source of problem for most biologists not directly involved with this almost confidential aspect of the zoological research. Much information has been gathered and published over two centuries on the classification but it is remains poorly accessible and too technical for non-experts. The exposed example could be taken from several groups of scorpions possessing infamous species, but the choice went to the genus Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 distributed from North Africa to the Middle East. Maybe this contribution will help to explain why so numerous cases of species misidentification are regularly present in the general literature devoted to scorpion venoms and incidents.
Abstract in English:Abstract Venous ulcers are the main causes of chronic lower-limb ulcers. The healing difficulties encourage the research and development of new products in order to achieve better therapeutic results. Fibrin sealant is one of these alternatives. Besides being a validated scaffold and drug delivery system, it possesses excellent healing properties. This review covered the last 25 years of the literature and showed that the fibrin sealant is used in various clinical situations to promote the healing of different types of ulcers, especially chronic ones. These are mostly venous in origin and usually does not respond to conventional treatment. Commercially, only the homologous fibrin sealants obtained from human blood are available, which are highly efficient but very expensive. The heterologous fibrin sealant is a non-commercial experimental low-cost product and easily produced due to the abundance of raw material. The phase I/II clinical trial is already completed and showed that the product is safe and promisingly efficacious for the treatment of chronic venous ulcers. In addition, clinical proteomic strategies to assess disease prognosis have been increasingly used. By analyzing liquid samples from the wounds through proteomic strategies, it is possible to predict before treatment which ulcers will evolve favorably and which ones will be difficult to heal. This prognosis is only possible by evaluating the expression of isolated proteins in exudates and analysis using label-free strategies for shotgun. Multicentric clinical trials will be required to evaluate the efficacy of fibrin sealant to treat chronic ulcers, as well as to validate the proteomic strategies to assess prognosis.
Abstract in English:Abstract Bothrops are one of the most common medically important snakes found in Latin America. Its venom is predominantly hemotoxic and proteolytic, which means that local lesion (edema and redness) and hemorrhagic symptoms are recurrent in envenoming by this snake. Although hemorrhage is usually the major cause of death, snakebite-related acute kidney injury is another potentially fatal clinical complication that may lead to chronic kidney disease. The present review highlights the main studies on Bothrops venom-related acute kidney injury, including observational, cross-sectional, case-control and cohort human studies available up to December 2019. The following descriptors were used according to Medical Subject Headings (MeSH): on Medline/Pubmed and Google Scholar “acute kidney injury” or “kidney disease” and “Bothrops”; on Lilacs and SciELO “kidney disease” or “acute kidney injury” and “Bothrops”. Newcastle-Ottawa quality assessment scale was used to appraise the quality of the cross-sectional and cohort studies included. The selection of more severe patients who looked for health care units and tertiary centers is a risk of bias. Due to the methodological heterogeneity of the studies, a critical analysis of the results was performed based on the hypothesis that the design of the included studies influences the incidence of acute kidney injury. Fifteen human studies (total participants 4624) were included according to stablished criteria. The coagulation abnormalities (hemorrhagic symptoms, abnormal fibrinogen and activated partial thromboplastin time) were associated with acute kidney injury in the most recent studies reported. The findings observed in this review provide up-to-date evidence about the acute kidney injury pathogenesis following Bothrops syndrome. Studies pointed out that coagulation abnormalities comprise the major pathway for acute kidney injury development. This review may improve patient management by primary healthcare providers, allowing earlier diagnosis and treatment of Bothrops venom-related acute kidney injury.
Abstract in English:Abstract Development of antibiotic resistance that leads to resurgence of bacterial infections poses a threat to disease-free existence for humankind and is a challenge for the welfare of the society at large. Despite research efforts directed towards treatment of pathogens, antibiotics within new improved classes have not emerged for years, a fact largely attributable to the pharmacological necessities compelling drug development. Recent reversion to the use of natural products alone or in combination with standard drugs has opened up new vistas for alternative therapeutics. The success of this strategy is evident in the sudden interest in plant extracts as additives/synergists for treatment of maladies caused by drug-resistant bacterial strains. Animal venoms have long fascinated scientists as sources of pharmacologically active components that can be exploited for the treatment of specific ailments and should be promoted further to clinical trials. In the present review, we outline the scope and possible methods for the applications of animal venoms in combination with commercial antibiotics to offer a better treatment approach against antibiotic-resistant infections.
Abstract in English:Abstract Despite the disrepute spiders have had for centuries, their bite is a rare occurrence. In the Mediterranean area, only two of the numerous known species are considered of medical significance: Latrodectus tredecimguttatus and Loxosceles rufescens. Spider bites have no pathognomonic signs or symptoms, therefore most diagnoses are presumptive; a spider bite can only be diagnosed when a spider (seen at the time of the bite) is collected and identified by an expert, since most physicians and patients are unable to recognize a certain spider species or distinguish spiders from other arthropods. Skin lesions of uncertain etiology are too often attributed to spider bites. In most cases, these are actually skin and soft-tissue infections, allergic reactions, dermatoses etc. Misdiagnosing a wound as a spider bite can lead to delays in appropriate care, cause adverse or even fatal outcomes and have medical-legal implications. Concerningly, misinformation on spider bites also affects the medical literature and it appears there is lack of awareness on current therapeutic indications for verified bites.
Abstract in English:Abstract As in previous contributions to the JVATiTD, the aim of this note is to bring some general information on a particular aspect of the scorpion biology. An attempt is made to explain the possible coevolution of telson morphology and venom glands, which took place during several hundred million years and in particular since scorpions migrated from aquatic to terrestrial environments. Three components can be directly associated with predation and defensive behaviours: (1) morphology of the chelae and structure of the chelae fingers granulations; (2) morphology of the metasoma and in particular of the telson; (3) evolution of tegumentary glands in the telson toward different types of venom glands. Since a number of recent contributions already treated some of these aspects, I will limit my comments to the possible evolution of the telson in relation to the evolution of venom glands. As in previous contributions, the content of this article is basically addressed to non-specialists on scorpions whose research embraces scorpions in several fields such as venom toxins and public health.
Abstract in English:Abstract Zika virus (ZIKV), an emerging arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) of the Flaviviridae family, is a current issue worldwide, particularly because of the congenital and neurological syndromes associated with infection by this virus. As the initial clinical symptoms of all diseases caused by this group are very similar, clinical diagnosis is difficult. Furthermore, laboratory diagnostic efforts have failed to identify specific and accurate tests for each virus of the Flaviviridae family due to the cross-reactivity of these viruses in serum samples. This situation has resulted in underreporting of the diseases caused by flaviviruses. However, many companies developed commercial diagnostic tests after the recent ZIKV outbreak. Moreover, health regulatory agencies have approved different commercial tests to extend the monitoring of ZIKV infections. Considering that a specific and sensitive diagnostic method for estimating risk and evaluating ZIKV propagation is still needed, this review aims to provide an update of the main commercially approved serological diagnostics test by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Brazilian National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA). Additionally, we present the technologies used for monoclonal antibody production as a tool for the development of diagnostic tests and applications of these antibodies in detecting ZIKV infections worldwide.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Here, we described the presence of a neurotoxin with phospholipase A2 activity isolated from Micrurus lemniscatus venom (Mlx-8) with affinity for muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs). Methods: The purification, molecular mass determination, partial amino acid sequencing, phospholipase A2 activity determination, inhibition of the binding of the selective muscarinic ligand [3H]QNB and inhibition of the total [3H]inositol phosphate accumulation in rat hippocampus of the Mlx-8 were determined. Results: Thirty-one fractions were collected from HPLC chromatography, and the Mlx-8 toxin was used in this work. The molecular mass of Mlx-8 is 13.628 Da. Edman degradation yielded the following sequence: NLYQFKNMIQCTNTRSWL-DFADYG-CYCGRGGSGT. The Mlx-8 had phospholipase A2 enzymatic activity. The pKi values were determined for Mlx-8 toxin and the M1 selective muscarinic antagonist pirenzepine in hippocampus membranes via [3H]QNB competition binding assays. The pKi values obtained from the analysis of Mlx-8 and pirenzepine displacement curves were 7.32 ± 0.15, n = 4 and 5.84 ± 0.18, n = 4, respectively. These results indicate that Mlx-8 has affinity for mAChRs. There was no effect on the inhibition ability of the [3H]QNB binding in hippocampus membranes when 1 µM Mlx-8 was incubated with 200 µM DEDA, an inhibitor of phospholipase A2. This suggests that the inhibition of the phospholipase A2 activity of the venom did not alter its ability to bind to displace [3H]QNB binding. In addition, the Mlx-8 toxin caused a blockade of 43.31 ± 8.86%, n = 3 and 97.42 ± 2.02%, n = 3 for 0.1 and 1 µM Mlx-8, respectively, on the total [3H]inositol phosphate content induced by 10 µM carbachol. This suggests that Mlx-8 inhibits the intracellular signaling pathway linked to activation of mAChRs in hippocampus. Conclusion: The results of the present work show, for the first time, that muscarinic receptors are also affected by the Mlx-8 toxin, a muscarinic ligand with phospholipase A2 characteristics, obtained from the venom of the Elapidae snake Micrurus lemniscatus, since this toxin was able to compete with muscarinic ligand [3H]QNB in hippocampus of rats. In addition, Mlx-8 also blocked the accumulation of total [3H]inositol phosphate induced by muscarinic agonist carbachol. Thus, Mlx-8 may be a new pharmacological tool for examining muscarinic cholinergic function.
Abstract in English:Background The Eastern Russell’s viper, Daboia siamensis, is a WHO Category 1 medically important venomous snake. It has a wide but disjunct distribution in Southeast Asia. The specific antivenom, D. siamensis Monovalent Antivenom (DsMAV-Thailand) is produced in Thailand but not available in Indonesia, where a heterologous trivalent antivenom, Serum Anti Bisa Ular (SABU), is used instead. This study aimed to investigate the geographical venom variation of D. siamensis from Thailand (Ds-Thailand) and Indonesia (Ds-Indonesia), and the immunorecognition of the venom proteins by antivenoms. Methods: The venom proteins were decomplexed with reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography and sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, followed by in-solution tryptic digestion, nano-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and protein identification. The efficacies of DsMAV-Thailand and SABU in binding the various venom fractions were assessed using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay optimized for immunorecognition profiling. Results: The two most abundant protein families in Ds-Thailand venom are phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and Kunitz-type serine protease inhibitor (KSPI). Those abundant in Ds-Indonesia venom are PLA2 and serine protease. KSPI and vascular endothelial growth factor were detected in Ds-Thailand venom, whereas L-amino acid oxidase and disintegrin were present in Ds-Indonesia venom. Common proteins shared between the two included snaclecs, serine proteases, metalloproteinases, phosphodiesterases, 5’nucleotidases and nerve growth factors at varying abundances. DsMAV-Thailand exhibited strong immunorecognition of the major protein fractions in both venoms, but low immunoreactivity toward the low molecular weight proteins e.g. KSPI and disintegrins. On the other hand, SABU was virtually ineffective in binding all fractionated venom proteins. Conclusion: D. siamensis venoms from Thailand and Indonesia varied geographically in the protein subtypes and abundances. The venoms, nevertheless, shared conserved antigenicity that allowed effective immunorecognition by DsMAV-Thailand but not by SABU, consistent with the neutralization efficacy of the antivenoms. A specific, appropriate antivenom is needed in Indonesia to treat Russell’s viper envenomation.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Between 40,000-70,000 people die yearly of rabies, an incurable disease. Besides post-bite vaccination, no treatment is available for it. Methods: First, virus dilution for antiviral effects in mice was determined. Then, animals were treated as follows: control (NaCl 250 µL/animal/day); bufotenine (0.63, 1.05 and 2.1 mg in 250 µL of NaCl/animal/day); rabies (10-6,82CVS dilution); and test (10-6,82 CVS dilution and bufotenine, in the above-mentioned doses). Animals were observed daily for 21 days or until the 3rd stage of rabies infection. Twitch-tension and liposome studies were applied to understand the possible interaction of bufotenine with receptors, particularly acetylcholine. Results: Bufotenine was able to increase the survival rate of intracerebrally virus-infected mice from 15 to 40%. Bufotenine did not seem to interfere with the acetylcholine response in the skeletal muscle, indicating that its mechanism of action is not blocking the virus entrance due to nAChR antagonism. By analyzing liposomes, we could observe that bufotenine did not passively penetrates cell membranes, indicating the necessity of complementary structures to cell penetration. Conclusions: Bufotenine is a promising candidate for drug development. After further chemical modification, it might be possible to dissociate minor side effects, increase efficiency, efficacy and pharmacokinetics, yielding a true anti-rabies drug.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Cancer is the second most common fatal disease in the world, behind cardiovascular disorders in the first place. It accounts for around 0.3 million deaths per year in India due to the lack of proper diagnostic facilities, prevention and treatment. Current therapeutic methods do not provide adequate protection and affect normal cells along with cancerous ones. Thus, there is a need for some alternative therapeutic strategy, preferably from natural products, which have been traditionally used for treatment of various diseases in the country. Methods: In this study, we have conjugated purified NN-32 toxin from Naja naja venom with gold nanoparticles and its anticancer potential was evaluated against human breast cancer cell lines. UV-Vis spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and zeta potential analysis were the techniques used for characterization of GNP-NN-32. Results: GNP-NN-32 showed dose- and time-dependent cytotoxicity against breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231). NN-32 and GNP-NN-32 induced apoptosis in both breast cancer cell lines. The results of CFSE cell proliferation study revealed that NN-32 and GNP-NN-32 arrested cell division in both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines resulting in inhibition of proliferation of these cancer cells. Conclusion: GNP-NN-32 showed an anticancer potential against human breast cancer cell lines. Analysis of detailed chemical characterization along with its cytotoxic property might help to perceive a new dimension of the anti-cancer potential of GNP-NN-32 that will enhance its biomedical function in near future.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Endogenous phospholipase A2 inhibitors from snake blood (sbPLIs) have been isolated from several species around the world, with the primary function of self-protection against the action of toxic phospholipases A2. In American snakes, sbPLIs were solely described in pit vipers, in which the natural protection role is justified. In this study, we described a sbPLI in Boa constrictor (popularly known as jiboia), a non-venomous snake species from America. Methods: PLA2 inhibitory activity was tested in the blood plasma of B. constrictor using C. d. terrificus venom as the enzyme source. Antibodies developed against CNF, a sbγPLI from Crotalus durissus terrificus, were used to investigate the presence of homologues in the blood plasma of B. constrictor. A CNF-like molecule with a PLA2 inhibitory activity was purified by column chromatography. The encoding gene for the inhibitor was cloned from B. constrictor liver tissue. The DNA fragment was cloned, purified and sequenced. The deduced primary sequence of interest was aligned with known sbγPLIs from the literature. Results: The blood plasma of B. constrictor displayed PLA2 inhibitory activity. A CNF-like molecule (named BcNF) was identified and purified from the blood plasma of B. constrictor. Basic properties such as molecular mass, composing amino acids, and pI were comparable, but BcNF displayed reduced specific activity in PLA2 inhibition. BcNF showed highest identity scores (ISs) with sbγPLIs from pit vipers from Latin America (90-100%), followed by gamma inhibitors from Asian viperid (80-90%). ISs below 70% were obtained for BcNF and non-venomous species from Asia. Conclusion: A functional sbγPLI (BcNF) was described in the blood plasma of B. constrictor. BcNF displayed higher primary identity with sbγPLIs from Viperidae than to sbγPLIs from non-venomous species from Asia. The physiological role played by sbγPLIs in non-venomous snake species remains to be understood. Further investigation is needed.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Argenteohyla siemersi (red-spotted Argentina frog) is a casque-headed tree frog species belonging to the Hylidae family. This species has a complex combination of anti-predator defense mechanisms that include a highly lethal skin secretion. However, biochemical composition and biological effects of this secretion have not yet been studied. Methods: The A. siemersi skin secretion samples were analyzed by mass spectrometry and chromatographic analysis (MALDI-TOF/MS, RP-HPLC and GC-MS). Proteins were also studied by SDS-PAGE. Among the biological activities evaluated, several enzymatic activities (hemolytic, phospholipase A2, clotting, proteolytic and amidolytic) were assessed. Furthermore, the cytotoxic activity (cytolysis and fluorescence staining) was evaluated on myoblasts of the C2C12 cell line. Results: The MALDI-TOF/MS analysis identified polypeptides and proteins in the aqueous solution of A. siemersi skin secretion. SDS-PAGE revealed the presence of proteins with molecular masses from 15 to 55 kDa. Steroids, but no alkaloids or peptides (less than 5 KDa), were detected using mass spectrometry. Skin secretion revealed the presence of lipids in methanolic extract, as analyzed by CG-MS. This secretion showed hemolytic and phospholipase A2 activities, but was devoid of amidolytic, proteolytic or clotting activities. Moreover, dose-dependent cytotoxicity in cultured C2C12 myoblasts of the skin secretion was demonstrated. Morphological analysis, quantification of lactate dehydrogenase release and fluorescence staining indicated that the cell death triggered by this secretion involved necrosis. Conclusions: Results presented herein evidence the biochemical composition and biological effects of A. siemersi skin secretion and contribute to the knowledge on the defense mechanisms of casque-headed frogs.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Crotalus durissus is considered one of the most important species of venomous snakes in Brazil, due to the high mortality of its snakebites. The venom of Crotalus durissus contains four main toxins: crotoxin, convulxin, gyroxin and crotamine. Venoms can vary in their crotamine content, being crotamine-negative or -positive. This heterogeneity is of great importance for producing antivenom, due to their different mechanisms of action. The possibility that antivenom produced by Butantan Institute might have a different immunorecognition capacity between crotamine-negative and crotamine-positive C. durissus venoms instigated us to investigate the differences between these two venom groups. Methods: The presence of crotamine was analyzed by SDS-PAGE, western blotting and ELISA, whereas comparison between the two types of venoms was carried out through HPLC, mass spectrometry analysis as well as assessment of antivenom lethality and efficacy. Results: The results showed a variation in the presence of crotamine among the subspecies and the geographic origin of snakes from nature, but not in captive snakes. Regarding differences between crotamine-positive and -negative venoms, some exclusive proteins are found in each pool and the crotamine-negative pool presented more phospholipase A2 than crotamine-positive pool. This variation could affect the time to death, but the lethal and effective dose were not affected. Conclusion: These differences between venom pools indicate the importance of using both, crotamine-positive and crotamine-negative venoms, to produce the antivenom.
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT Background: The Brazil’s lancehead, Bothrops brazili, is a poorly studied pit viper distributed in lowlands of the equatorial rainforests of southern Colombia, northeastern Peru, eastern Ecuador, southern and southeastern Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil, and northern Bolivia. Few studies have been reported on toxins isolated from venom of Ecuadorian and Brazilian B. brazili. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the qualitative and quantitative protein composition of B. brazili venom from Pará (Brazil), and to carry out a comparative antivenomics assessment of the immunoreactivity of the Brazilian antibothropic pentavalent antivenom [soro antibotrópico (SAB) in Portuguese] against the venoms of B. brazili and reference species, B. jararaca. Methods: We have applied a quantitative snake venomics approach, including reverse-phase and two-dimensional electrophoretic decomplexation of the venom toxin arsenal, LC-ESI-MS mass profiling and peptide-centric MS/MS proteomic analysis, to unveil the overall protein composition of B. brazili venom from Pará (Brazil). Using third-generation antivenomics, the specific and paraspecific immunoreactivity of the Brazilian SAB against homologous (B. jararaca) and heterologous (B. brazili) venoms was investigated. Results: The venom proteome of the Brazil’s lancehead (Pará) is predominantly composed of two major and three minor acidic (19%) and two major and five minor basic (14%) phospholipase A2 molecules; 7-11 snake venom metalloproteinases of classes PI (21%) and PIII (6%); 10-12 serine proteinases (14%), and 1-2 L-amino acid oxidases (6%). Other toxins, including two cysteine-rich secretory proteins, one C-type lectin-like molecule, one nerve growth factor, one 5'-nucleotidase, one phosphodiesterase, one phospholipase B, and one glutaminyl cyclase molecule, represent together less than 2.7% of the venom proteome. Third generation antivenomics profile of the Brazilian pentabothropic antivenom showed paraspecific immunoreactivity against all the toxin classes of B. brazili venom, with maximal binding capacity of 132.2 mg venom/g antivenom. This figure indicates that 19% of antivenom's F(ab')2 antibodies bind B. brazili venom toxins. Conclusion: The proteomics outcome contribute to a deeper insight into the spectrum of toxins present in the venom of the Brazil’s lancehead, and rationalize the pathophysiology underlying this snake bite envenomings. The comparative qualitative and quantitative immunorecognition profile of the Brazilian pentabothropic antivenom toward the venom toxins of B. brazili and B. jararaca (the reference venom for assessing the bothropic antivenom's potency in Brazil), provides clues about the proper use of the Brazilian antibothropic polyvalent antivenom in the treatment of bites by the Brazil’s lancehead.
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT Background: Intrathecal injection of voltage-sensitive calcium channel blocker peptide toxins exerts analgesic effect in several animal models of pain. Upon intrathecal administration, recombinant Phα1β exerts the same analgesic effects as the those of the native toxin. However, from a clinical perspective, the intrathecal administration limits the use of anesthetic drugs in patients. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the possible antinociceptive effect of intravenous recombinant Phα1β in rat models of neuropathic pain, as well as its side effects on motor, cardiac (heart rate and blood pressure), and biochemical parameters. Methods: Male Wistar rats and male Balb-C mice were used in this study. Giotto Biotech® synthesized the recombinant version of Phα1β using Escherichia coli expression. In rats, neuropathic pain was induced by chronic constriction of the sciatic nerve and paclitaxel-induced acute and chronic pain. Mechanical sensitivity was evaluated using von Frey filaments. A radiotelemeter transmitter (TA11PA-C10; Data Sciences, St. Paul, MN, USA) was placed on the left carotid of mice for investigation of cardiovascular side effects. Locomotor activity data were evaluated using the open-field paradigm, and serum CKMB, TGO, TGP, LDH, lactate, creatinine, and urea levels were examined. Results: Intravenous administration of recombinant Phα1β toxin induced analgesia for up to 4 h, with ED50 of 0.02 (0.01-0.03) mg/kg, and reached the maximal effect (Emax = 100% antinociception) at a dose of 0.2 mg/kg. No significant changes were observed in any of the evaluated motor, cardiac or biochemical parameters. Conclusion: Our data suggest that intravenous administration of recombinant Phα1β may be feasible for drug-induced analgesia, without causing any severe side effects.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Scorpionism is one of the most important health problems in tropical regions, which unfortunately results in thousands of deaths annually. Pregnant women are potential victims in areas with high scorpion-sting prevalence. Limited medical data are available on the effects of scorpion envenomation in pregnant women. This study aimed to examine the effect of scorpion envenomation on pregnancy outcomes in 66 cases. Methods: The present descriptive/analytical cross-sectional study was performed on 66 scorpion-envenomed pregnant women referred to the clinical toxicology unit of Ahvaz Razi Hospital in Iran during 2015-2017. The variables assessed in all cases, via questionnaire and hospital medical records, were: age, patient residency, gestational week, status of the fetus, laboratory anomalies, clinical severity of envenomation, sting site and scorpion species. Pregnancy outcome (miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, normal delivery) and status of the newborns were also evaluated. Data were analyzed using SPSS ® software (version 24.0). Results: The following pregnancy outcomes were recorded from envenomed pregnant women: miscarriage = 1.5% (n = 1), stillbirth = 4.5% (n = 3), preterm birth = 10.6% (n = 7), normal birth = 83% (n = 55). Among participants whose pregnancy led to birth, 11(17.7%) cases had prenatal-neonatal complications. Neonatal complications, including Apgar score less than 8 points at 5 min, were found in 7 (11.3%) preterm birth cases and in 4 (6.4%) normal birth cases, along with birth weight below 2500 g in normal births. A significant relationship was found between adverse pregnancy outcomes and bite location, as well as scorpion species, but no relationship was found with other variables. Conclusion: Envenomation significantly contributes to preterm birth. Moreover, the location of bites and the type of scorpion species have a decisive role in the pregnancy outcome of scorpion-envenomed pregnant women.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Conopeptides are neuropharmacological peptides derived from the venomous salivary glands of cone snails. Among 29 superfamilies based on conserved signal sequences, T-superfamily conotoxins, which belong to the smallest group, include four different frameworks that contain four cysteines denominated I, V, X and XVI. In this work, the primary structure and the cysteine connectivity of novel conotoxin of Conus bandanus were determined by tandem mass spectrometry using collision-induced dissociation. Methods: The venom glands of C. bandanus snails were dissected, pooled, and extracted with 0.1% trifluoroacetic acid in three steps and lyophilized. The venom was fractionated and purified in an HPLC system with an analytical reversed-phase C18 column. The primary peptide structure was analyzed by MALDI TOF MS/MS using collision-induced dissociation and confirmed by Edman's degradation. The peptide’s cysteine connectivity was determined by rapid partial reduction-alkylation technique. Results: The novel conotoxin, NGC1C2(I/L)VREC3C4, was firstly derived from de novo sequencing by MS/MS. The presence of isoleucine residues in this conotoxin was confirmed by the Edman degradation method. The conotoxin, denominated Bn5a, belongs to the T1-subfamily of conotoxins. However, the disulfide bonds (C1-C4/C2-C3) of Bn5a were not the same as found in other T1-subfamily conopeptides but shared common connectivities with T2-subfamily conotoxins. The T1-conotoxin of C. bandanus proved the complexity of the disulfide bond pattern of conopeptides. The homological analysis revealed that the novel conotoxin could serve as a valuable probe compound for the human-nervous-system norepinephrine transporter. Conclusion: We identified the first T1-conotoxin, denominated Bn5a, isolated from C. bandanus venom. However, Bn5a conotoxin exhibited unique C1-C4/C2-C3 disulfide connectivity, unlike other T1-conotoxins (C1-C3/C2-C4). The structural and homological analyses herein have evidenced novel conotoxin Bn5a that may require further investigation.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: The nutritional requirements of honeybees (Apis mellifera) for their complete development need to be supplied through food sources available in the environment, since honeybees are insects that depend directly on blossoming food sources. However, at certain times a food-supply reduction can promote nutritional stress, thus necessitating food supplementation for maintenance or production stimulus of the colonies. Thus, the determination of optimal energy supplementation can assist in the maintenance and production of colonies. Methods: Twenty Apis mellifera beehives were used (with five beehives per treatment): CTL, control (without feeding); SJ, sugarcane juice; SS, sugar syrup; and IS, inverted sucrose. We evaluated the food consumption, population development, and physiological state (expression of vitellogenin and hexamerin 70a genes) of each colony. Results: The results showed that the supplementation of colonies with sugar syrup resulted in an intermediate consumption level (894.6 ± 291 mL) and better development (384.9 ± 237.3 and 158.3 ± 171.6 cm2, sealed and open brood, respectively). Furthermore, this diet ensured that the colonies were in a good physiological state, as bees fed this diet presented the highest relative expression levels of vitellogenin and hexamerin 70a among all the diets tested. Conclusions: Therefore, sugar syrup is concluded to be the best artificial energetic food for use in the supplementation of honeybee colonies.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Ventral root avulsion (VRA) is an experimental approach in which there is an abrupt separation of the motor roots from the surface of the spinal cord. As a result, most of the axotomized motoneurons degenerate by the second week after injury, and the significant loss of synapses and increased glial reaction triggers a chronic inflammatory state. Pharmacological treatment associated with root reimplantation is thought to overcome the degenerative effects of VRA. Therefore, treatment with dimethyl fumarate (DMF), a drug with neuroprotective and immunomodulatory effects, in combination with a heterologous fibrin sealant/biopolymer (FS), a biological glue, may improve the regenerative response. Methods: Adult female Lewis rats were subjected to VRA of L4-L6 roots followed by reimplantation and daily treatment with DMF for four weeks. Survival times were evaluated 1, 4 or 12 weeks after surgery. Neuronal survival assessed by Nissl staining, glial reactivity (anti-GFAP for astrocytes and anti-Iba-1 for microglia) and synapse preservation (anti-VGLUT1 for glutamatergic inputs and anti-GAD65 for GABAergic inputs) evaluated by immunofluorescence, gene expression (pro- and anti-inflammatory molecules) and motor function recovery were measured. Results: Treatment with DMF at a dose of 15 mg/kg was found to be neuroprotective and immunomodulatory because it preserved motoneurons and synapses and decreased astrogliosis and microglial reactions, as well as downregulated the expression of pro-inflammatory gene transcripts. Conclusion: The pharmacological benefit was further enhanced when associated with root reimplantation with FS, in which animals recovered at least 50% of motor function, showing the efficacy of employing multiple regenerative approaches following spinal cord root injury.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small membrane-bound vesicles of growing interest in vetetinary parasitology. The aim of the present report was to provide the first isolation, quantification and protein characterization of EVs from buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) sera infected with Theileria spp. Methods: Infected animals were identified through optical microscopy and PCR. EVs were isolated from buffalo sera by size-exclusion chromatography and characterized using western blotting analysis, nanoparticle tracking analysis and transmission electron microscopy. Subsequently, the proteins from isolated vesicles were characterized by mass spectrometry. Results: EVs from buffalo sera have shown sizes in the 124-140 nm range and 306 proteins were characterized. The protein-protein interaction analysis has evidenced biological processes and molecular function associated with signal transduction, binding, regulation of metabolic processes, transport, catalytic activity and response to acute stress. Five proteins have been shown to be differentially expressed between the control group and that infected with Theileria spp., all acting in the oxidative stress pathway. Conclusions: EVs from buffaloes infected with Theileria spp. were successfully isolated and characterized. This is an advance in the knowledge of host-parasite relationship that contributes to the understanding of host immune response and theileriosis evasion mechanisms. These findings may pave the way for searching new EVs candidate-markers for a better production of safe biological products derived from buffaloes.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: The tarantula Chilobrachys jingzhao is one of the largest venomous spiders in China. In previous studies, we purified and characterized at least eight peptides from C. jingzhao venom. In this report, we describe the purification and characterization of Jingzhaotoxin-X (JZTX-X), which selectively blocks Kv4.2 and Kv4.3 potassium channels. Methods: JZTX-X was purified using a combination of cation-exchange HPLC and reverse-phase HPLC. The amino-acid sequence was determined by automated Edman degradation and confirmed by mass spectrometry (MS). Voltage-gated ion channel currents were recorded in HEK293t cells transiently transfected with a variety of ion channel constructs. In addition, the hyperalgesic activity of JZTX-X and the toxin´s effect on motor function were assessed in mice. Results: JZTX-X contained 31 amino acids, with six cysteine residues that formed three disulfide bonds within an inhibitory cysteine knot (ICK) topology. In whole-cell voltage-clamp experiments, JZTX-X inhibited Kv4.2 and Kv4.3 potassium channels in a concentration- and voltage-dependent manner, without affecting other ion channels (Kv1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, delayed rectifier potassium channels, high- and low-voltage-activated Ca2+ channels, and voltage-gated sodium channels Nav1.5 and 1.7). JZTX-X also shifted the voltage-dependent channel activation to more depolarized potentials, whereas extreme depolarization caused reversible toxin binding to Kv4.2 channels. JZTX-X shifted the Kv4.2 and Kv4.3 activities towards a resting state, since at the resting potential the toxin completely inhibited the channels, even in the absence of an applied physical stimulus. Intrathecal or intraplantar injection of JZTX-X caused a long-lasting decrease in the mechanical nociceptive threshold (hyperalgesia) but had no effect on motor function as assessed in the rotarod test. Conclusions: JZTX-X selectively suppresses Kv4.2 and Kv4.3 potassium channel activity in a concentration- and voltage-dependent manner and causes long-lasting mechanical hyperalgesia.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Scolopendra polymorpha (S. polymorpha) is a predatory centipede whose venom contains a multiplicity of biochemical effectors that can cause muscle damage and cumulative cell destruction in its prey. Despite previous investigations of S. polymorpha and other centipede venoms, there is a lack of information on the morphological and biochemical patterns elicited by their myotoxic effects. To elucidate these processes, this paper presents evidence of skeletal muscle damage, and alterations in key biochemical mediators that appear only after exposure to centipede venom. Methods: Venom was collected and fractionated using RP-HPLC; mouse extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle was exposed to whole venom and venom fractions to evaluate myotoxicity by means of creatine kinase (CK) - a muscle damage marker - activity measurements and histochemical analysis. Results: CK activity was higher in EDL muscle exposed to venom than in unexposed muscle. This increase was observed after 15 min of venom incubation, and remained stable up to 45 min. Venom-exposed EDL muscle showed signs of muscle damage including necrosis, loss of fascicular structure as well as mitochondrial accumulations and ragged red fibers (RRF), suggesting an impairment in the normal mitochondrial arrangement. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and cytochrome oxidase (COX) tests also indicate that respiratory complexes might be affected. Conclusion: Our results suggest a different biochemical composition of S. polymorpha venom, based on the different effects of four venom fractions on the cells tested, according to statistical evidence. Fractions F6 and F7 caused the most important alterations.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: The production of antivenom from immunized animals is an established treatment for snakebites; however, antibody phage display technology may have the capacity to delivery results more quickly and with a better match to local need. Naja oxiana, the Iranian cobra, is a medically important species, responsible for a significant number of deaths annually. This study was designed as proof of principle to determine whether recombinant antibodies with the capacity to neutralize cobra venom could be isolated by phage display. Methods: Toxic fractions from cobra venom were prepared by chromatography and used as targets in phage display to isolate recombinant antibodies from a human scFv library. Candidate antibodies were expressed in E. coli HB2151 and purified by IMAC chromatography. The selected clones were analyzed in in vivo and in vitro experiments. Results: Venom toxicity was contained in two fractions. Around a hundred phage clones were isolated against each fraction, those showing the best promise were G12F3 and G1F4. While all chosen clones showed low but detectable neutralizing effect against Naja oxiana venom, clone G12F3 could inhibit PLA2 activity. Conclusion: Therefore, phage display is believed to have a good potential as an approach to the development of snake antivenom.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Pathogenesis of Bothrops envenomations is complex and despite numerous studies on the effects of this snake venom on various biological systems, relatively little is known about such effects on the male reproductive system. In the present study, the toxicological outcomes of the low molecular weight fraction (LMWF) of B. jararaca snake venom - containing a range of bioactive peptides - were investigated on the dynamics and structure of the seminiferous epithelium and 15P-1 Sertoli cells viability. Methods: LMWF (5 µg/dose per testis) venom was administered in male Swiss mice by intratesticular (i.t.) injection. Seven days after this procedure, the testes were collected for morphological and morphometric evaluation, distribution of claudin-1 in the seminiferous epithelium by immunohistochemical analyses of testes, and the nitric oxide (NO) levels were evaluated in the total extract of the testis protein. In addition, the toxicological effects of LMWF and crude venom (CV) were analyzed on the 15P-1 Sertoli cell culture. Results: LMWF induced changes in the structure and function of the seminiferous epithelium without altering claudin-1 distribution. LMWF effects were characterized especially by lost cells in the adluminal compartment of epithelium (spermatocytes in pachytene, preleptotene spermatocytes, zygotene spermatocytes, and round spermatid) and different stages of the seminiferous epithelium cycle. LMWF also increased the NO levels in the total extract of the testis protein and was not cytotoxic in concentrations and time tested in the present study. However, CV showed cytotoxicity at 10 μg/mL from 6 to 48 h of treatment. Conclusions: The major finding of the present study was that the LMWF inhibited spermatozoa production; principally in the spermiogenesis stage without altering claudin-1 distribution in the basal compartment. Moreover, NO increased by LMWF induce open of complexes junctions and release the germ cells of the adluminal compartment to the seminiferous tubule.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Beta-cardiotoxin (β-CTX), the three-finger toxin isolated from king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) venom, possesses β-blocker activity as indicated by its negative chronotropy and its binding property to both β-1 and β-2 adrenergic receptors and has been proposed as a novel β-blocker candidate. Previously, β-CTX was isolated and purified by FPLC. Here, we present an alternative method to purify this toxin. In addition, we tested its cytotoxicity against different mammalian muscle cell types and determined the impact on cardiac function in isolated cardiac myocyte so as to provide insights into the pharmacological action of this protein. Methods: β-CTX was isolated from the crude venom of the Thai king cobra using reverse-phased and cation exchange HPLC. In vitro cellular viability MTT assays were performed on mouse myoblast (C2C12), rat smooth muscle (A7r5), and rat cardiac myoblast (H9c2) cells. Cell shortening and calcium transient dynamics were recorded on isolated rat cardiac myocytes over a range of β-CTX concentration. Results: Purified β-CTX was recovered from crude venom (0.53% w/w). MTT assays revealed 50% cytotoxicity on A7r5 cells at 9.41 ± 1.14 µM (n = 3), but no cytotoxicity on C2C12 and H9c2 cells up to 114.09 µM. β-CTX suppressed the extend of rat cardiac cell shortening in a dose-dependent manner; the half-maximal inhibition concentration was 95.97 ± 50.10 nM (n = 3). In addition, the rates of cell shortening and re-lengthening were decreased in β-CTX treated myocytes concomitant with a prolongation of the intracellular calcium transient decay, indicating depression of cardiac contractility secondary to altered cardiac calcium homeostasis. Conclusion: We present an alternative purification method for β-CTX from king cobra venom. We reveal cytotoxicity towards smooth muscle and depression of cardiac contractility by this protein. These data are useful to aid future development of pharmacological agents derived from β-CTX.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: The Asiatic pit vipers from the Trimeresurus complex are medically important venomous snakes. These pit vipers are often associated with snakebite that leads to fatal coagulopathy and tissue necrosis. The cytotoxic venoms of Trimeresurus spp.; however, hold great potential for the development of peptide-based anticancer drugs. Methods: This study investigated the cytotoxic effect of the venom from Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus, the mangrove pit viper (also known as shore pit viper) which is native in Malaysia, across a panel of human cancer cell lines from breast, lung, colon and prostate as well as the corresponding normal cell lines of each tissue. Results: The venom exhibited dose-dependent cytotoxic activities on all cell lines tested, with median inhibition concentrations (IC50) ranging from 0.42 to 6.98 µg/mL. The venom has a high selectivity index (SI = 14.54) on breast cancer cell line (MCF7), indicating that it is significantly more cytotoxic toward the cancer than to normal cell lines. Furthermore, the venom was fractionated using C18 reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography and the anticancer effect of each protein fraction was examined. Fraction 1 that contains a hydrophilic low molecular weight (approximately 7.5 kDa) protein was found to be the most cytotoxic and selective toward the breast cancer cell line (MCF7). The protein was identified using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry as a venom disintegrin, termed purpureomaculin in this study. Conclusion: Taken together, the findings revealed the potent and selective cytotoxicity of a disintegrin protein isolated from the Malaysian T. purpureomaculatus venom and suggested its anticancer potential in drug discovery.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Antivenoms are the only validated treatment against snakebite envenoming. Numerous drawbacks pertaining to their availability, safety and efficacy are becoming increasingly evident due to low sustainability of current productions. Technological innovation of procedures generating therapeutics of higher purity and better physicochemical characteristics at acceptable cost is necessary. The objective was to develop at laboratory scale a compact, feasible and economically viable platform for preparation of equine F(ab')2 antivenom against Vipera ammodytes ammodytes venom and to support it with efficiency data, to enable estimation of the process cost-effectiveness. Methods: The principle of simultaneous caprylic acid precipitation and pepsin digestion has been implemented into plasma downstream processing. Balance between incomplete IgG breakdown, F(ab')2 over-digestion and loss of the active drug's protective efficacy was achieved by adjusting pepsin to a 1:30 substrate ratio (w/w) and setting pH at 3.2. Precipitation and digestion co-performance required 2 h-long incubation at 21 °C. Final polishing was accomplished by a combination of diafiltration and flow-through chromatography. In vivo neutralization potency of the F(ab')2 product against the venom's lethal toxicity was determined. Results: Only three consecutive steps, performed under finely tuned conditions, were sufficient for preservation of the highest process recovery with the overall yield of 74%, comparing favorably to others. At the same time, regulatory requirements were met. Final product was aggregate- and pepsin-free. Its composition profile was analyzed by mass spectrometry as a quality control check. Impurities, present in minor traces, were identified mostly as IgG/IgM fragments, contributing to active drug. Specific activity of the F(ab')2 preparation with respect to the plasma was increased 3.9-fold. Conclusion: A highly streamlined mode for production of equine F(ab')2 antivenom was engineered. In addition to preservation of the highest process yield and fulfillment of the regulatory demands, performance simplicity and rapidity in the laboratory setting were demonstrated. Suitability for large-scale manufacturing appears promising.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Spider venom is a potential source of pharmacologically important compounds. Previous studies on spider venoms reported the presence of bioactive molecules that possess cell-modulating activities. Despite these claims, sparse scientific evidence is available on the cytotoxic mechanisms in relation to the components of the spider venom. In this study, we aimed to determine the cytotoxic fractions of the spider venom extracted from Phlogiellus bundokalbo and to ascertain the possible mechanism of toxicity towards human lung adenocarcinoma (A549) cells. Methods: Spider venom was extracted by electrostimulation. Components of the extracted venom were separated by reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) using a linear gradient of 0.1% trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) in water and 0.1% TFA in 95% acetonitrile (ACN). Cytotoxic activity was evaluated by the MTT assay. Apoptotic or necrotic cell death was assessed by microscopic evaluation in the presence of Hoechst 33342 and Annexin V, Alexa FluorTM 488 conjugate fluorescent stains, and caspase activation assay. Phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activity of the cytotoxic fractions were also measured. Results: We observed and isolated six fractions from the venom of P. bundokalbo collected from Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur. Four of these fractions displayed cytotoxic activities. Fractions AT5-1, AT5-3, and AT5-4 were found to be apoptotic while AT5-6, the least polar among the cytotoxic components, was observed to induce necrosis. PLA2 activity also showed cytotoxicity in all fractions but presented no relationship between specific activity of PLA2 and cytotoxicity. Conclusion: The venom of P. bundokalbo spider, an endemic tarantula species in the Philippines, contains components that were able to induce either apoptosis or necrosis in A549 cells.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Liposomes are highly useful carriers for delivering drugs or antigens. The association of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins to liposomes potentially enhances the immunogenic effect of vaccine antigens by increasing their surface concentration. Furthermore, the introduction of a universal immunoglobulin-binding domain can make liposomes targetable to virtually any desired receptor for which antibodies exist. Methods: We developed a system for the production of recombinant proteins with GPI anchors and histidine tags and Strep-tags for simplified purification from cells. This system was applied to i) the green fluorescent protein (GFP) as a reporter, ii) the promising Plasmodium falciparum vaccine antigen PfRH5 and iii) a doubled immunoglobulin Fc-binding domain termed ZZ from protein A of Staphylococcus aureus. As the GPI-attachment domain, the C-terminus of murine CD14 was used. After the recovery of these three recombinant proteins from Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells and association with liposomes, their vaccine potential and ability to target the CD4 receptor on lymphocytes in ex vivo conditions were tested. Results: Upon immunization in mice, the PfRH5-GPI-loaded liposomes generated antibody titers of 103 to 104, and showed a 45% inhibitory effect on in vitro growth at an IgG concentration of 600 µg/mL in P. falciparum cultures. Using GPI-anchored ZZ to couple anti-CD4 antibodies to liposomes, we created immunoliposomes with a binding efficiency of 75% to CD4+ cells in splenocytes and minimal off-target binding. Conclusions: Proteins are very effectively associated with liposomes via a GPI-anchor to form proteoliposome particles and these are useful for a variety of applications including vaccines and antibody-mediated targeting of liposomes. Importantly, the CHO-cell and GPI-tagged produced PfRH5 elicited invasion-blocking antibodies qualitatively comparable to other approaches.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: The present study was carried out aiming to evaluate the impact of laryngeal sequelae on the quality of life of treated paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) patients. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at the Otorhinolaryngology Outpatient Clinic of the University Hospital, Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Thirty-two PCM patients considered clinically and immunologically cured were included: 16 with laryngeal involvement during the active phase of the disease (laryngeal PCM group) and 16 without laryngeal involvement (control group). They were submitted to structured interview, otorhinolaryngology examination, videolaryngoscopy, videoendoscopic swallowing study, completed two questionnaires for voice self-assessment - Voice-related Quality of Life (V-RQOL) and Voice Handicap Index (VHI) - and were asked to score their voices on a scale from zero to 10 (self-assessment of vocal quality). Results: Dysphonia was present in 50% of the cases. Patients with laryngeal PCM presented worse voice-related quality of life scores on the V-RQOL and poorer vocal quality self-assessment than the control group. No significant differences in the VHI were found between the groups. None of the participants developed dysphagic sequelae, although some minor changes were observed on videoendoscopic examination. Conclusion: There were no dysphagia complaints and only a few mild changes were found on the fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing, suggesting that this evaluation should be performed only in specific cases. Patients with laryngeal involvement presented worse V-RQOL and self-assessment voice quality. This study contributes to the current knowledge of the functional assessment of the larynx affected by PCM and the impact of dysphonia on quality of life.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: South American rattlesnakes are represented in Brazil by a single species, Crotalus durissus, which has public health importance due to the severity of its envenomation and to its wide geographical distribution. The species is subdivided into several subspecies, but the current classification is controversial. In Brazil, the venoms of C. d. terrificus and C. d. collilineatus are used for hyperimmunization of horses for antivenom production, even though the distinction of these two subspecies are mostly by their geographical distribution. In this context, we described a comparative compositional and functional characterization of individual C. d. collilineatus and C. d. terrificus venoms from three Brazilian states. Methods: We compared the compositional patterns of C. d. terrificus and C. d. collilineatus individual venoms by 1-DE and RP-HPLC. For functional analyzes, the enzymatic activities of PLA2, LAAO, and coagulant activity were evaluated. Finally, the immunorecognition of venom toxins by the crotalic antivenom produced at Butantan Institute was evaluated using Western blotting. Results: The protein profile of individual venoms from C. d. collilineatus and C. d. terrificus showed a comparable overall composition, despite some intraspecific variation, especially regarding crotamine and LAAO. Interestingly, HPLC analysis showed a geographic pattern concerning PLA2. In addition, a remarkable intraspecific variation was also observed in PLA2, LAAO and coagulant activities. The immunorecognition pattern of individual venoms from C. d. collilineatus and C. d. terrificus by crotalic antivenom produced at Butantan Institute was similar. Conclusions: The results highlighted the individual variability among the venoms of C. durissus ssp. specimens. Importantly, our data point to a geographical variation of C. durissus ssp. venom profile, regardless of the subspecies, as evidenced by PLA2 isoforms complexity, which may explain the increase in venom neurotoxicity from Northeastern through Southern Brazil reported for the species.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Journal Impact Factor (JIF) has several intrinsic flaws, which highlight its inability to adequately measure citation distributions or indicate journal quality. Despite these flaws, JIF is still widely used within the academic community, resulting in the propagation of potentially misleading information. A critical review of the usefulness of JIF is needed including an overview of the literature to identify viable alternative metrics. The objectives of this study are: (1) to assess the usefulness of JIF by compiling and comparing its advantages and disadvantages; (2) to record the differential uses of JIF within research environments; and (3) to summarize and compare viable alternative measures to JIF. Methods: Three separate literature search strategies using MEDLINE and Web of Science were completed to address the three study objectives. Each search was completed in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. Results were compiled in tabular format and analyzed based on reporting frequency. Results: For objective (1), 84 studies were included in qualitative analysis. It was found that the recorded advantages of JIF were outweighed by disadvantages (18 disadvantages vs. 9 advantages). For objective (2), 653 records were included in a qualitative analysis. JIF was found to be most commonly used in journal ranking (n = 653, 100%) and calculation of scientific research productivity (n = 367, 56.2%). For objective (3), 65 works were included in qualitative analysis. These articles revealed 45 alternatives, which includes 18 alternatives that improve on highly reported disadvantages of JIF. Conclusion: JIF has many disadvantages and is applied beyond its original intent, leading to inaccurate information. Several metrics have been identified to improve on certain disadvantages of JIF. Integrated Impact Indicator (I3) shows great promise as an alternative to JIF. However, further scientometric analysis is needed to assess its properties.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: The Amazon basin is one of the seven major geographical areas where scorpionism is recorded. In French Guiana, 90 stings per 100,000 inhabitants are registered per year. As the severity of cases is higher in children, descriptive studies are needed to have a better understanding of this pathology. The aim of the present study is to describe pediatric scorpionism in French Guiana. Methods: We conducted a monocentric descriptive retrospective study on scorpion stings in all pediatric patients admitted to Cayenne General Hospital from January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2018. Results: In this survey, 132 patients were included. Of them, 63% were male. Patients with general signs of envenomation were younger and lighter (p = 0.04). The picture was “one sting” (95.3%) by a “big” (47.6%), “black” (60%) and “small pincer” (58%) scorpion on the extremity of the body (84%). Stings occurred mainly during the day, while patients changed clothes. There was no envenomation during night. The monthly evaluation highlights that the number of stings and percentage of general signs of envenomation were closely connected to a composite variable including the variation of the level of rivers (p = 0.005). Cardiac symptoms were recorded in 82% of cases with general signs of envenomation. The presence of pulmonary; ear, nose, and throat (ENT); or gastrointestinal symptoms are related to major envenomation (p = 0.001, p = 0.01, and p = 0.02 respectively). Leukocytosis and glycemia increased according to the envenomation grade whereas serum potassium and alkaline reserve decreased. Forty-six patients needed hospitalization and seven of them required intensive care. No patient died nor presented sequelae at discharge from the hospital. Conclusion: Pediatric scorpionism in French Guiana is closely associated with child activities and climatic conditions. Severe envenomation presented most of the time with cardiac, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Neuroimaging strategies are essential to locate, to elucidate the etiology, and to the follow up of brain disease patients. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides good cerebral soft-tissue contrast detection and diagnostic sensitivity. Inflammatory lesions and tumors are common brain diseases that may present a similar pattern of a cerebral ring enhancing lesion on MRI, and non-enhancing core (which may reflect cystic components or necrosis) leading to misdiagnosis. Texture analysis (TA) and machine learning approaches are computer-aided diagnostic tools that can be used to assist radiologists in such decisions. Methods: In this study, we combined texture features with machine learning (ML) methods aiming to differentiate brain tumors from inflammatory lesions in magnetic resonance imaging. Retrospective examination of 67 patients, with a pattern of a cerebral ring enhancing lesion, 30 with inflammatory, and 37 with tumoral lesions were selected. Three different MRI sequences and textural features were extracted using gray level co-occurrence matrix and gray level run length. All diagnoses were confirmed by histopathology, laboratorial analysis or MRI. Results: The features extracted were processed for the application of ML methods that performed the classification. T1-weighted images proved to be the best sequence for classification, in which the differentiation between inflammatory and tumoral lesions presented high accuracy (0.827), area under ROC curve (0.906), precision (0.837), and recall (0.912). Conclusion: The algorithm obtained textures capable of differentiating brain tumors from inflammatory lesions, on T1-weghted images without contrast medium using the Random Forest machine learning classifier.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Trimeresurus stejnegeri stejnegeri bite induces tissue swelling, pain, thrombocytopenia, rhabdomyolysis, and acute renal failure. However, the incidence of coagulopathy, factors associated with wound necrosis, and the appropriate management of this condition have not been well characterized yet. Materials: This study included patients bitten by T. s. stejnegeri that were admitted to the study hospitals from 2001 to 2016. Patient characteristics, laboratory data, and management approaches were compared in victims with and without wound necrosis. Results: A total of 185 patients were evaluated: three patients (1.6%) were asymptomatic; whereas tissue swelling and pain, local ecchymosis, wound necrosis, coagulopathy, thrombocytopenia, rhabdomyolysis, and renal impairment were present in 182, 53, 13, 15, 10, 1, and 3 patients, respectively. One patient died from coagulopathy and hemorrhagic shock. Antivenom was administered to all envenomed patients at a median time of 1.8 h after the bite. The median total dose of antivenom was five vials. Chi-square analysis showed that bitten fingers, using cold packs during first aid, presence of bullae or blisters, lymphangitis or lymphadenitis, local numbness and suspected infection to be significantly associated with wound necrosis. After adjustment using a multivariate logistic regression model, only cold packs as first aid, bulla or blister formation, and wound infection remained significant. Conclusions: The main effects of T. s. stejnegeri envenomation are tissue swelling, pain, and local ecchymosis. We do not recommend the use of cold packs during first aid to reduce wound pain, as this may be a risk factor for wound necrosis. In addition, patients with bulla or blister formation should be carefully examined for subsequent wound necrosis. Antiplatelet use may worsen systemic bleeding. No severe rhabdomyolysis or renal failure was observed in this large case series, we therefore considered that they were not prominent effects of T. s. stejnegeri bite.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: PnPa11 and PnPa13 are synthetic peptides derived from Phoneutria nigriventer spider venom, which display antinociceptive and neuroprotective properties. In this work, we evaluated the safety of intravitreal use and the neuroprotective effect of these peptides. Methods: The cytotoxicity and the antiangiogenic activity of these peptides were evaluated by the sulforhodamine-B method and chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay, respectively. The in vivo safety was analyzed in Wistar rats that were intravitreally injected with different doses (0.50; 1.25; 2.50; 3.75 and 5.00 µg/mL) of these peptides (right eye, n = 6). The retinal function was assessed by electroretinography exams (ERG), intraocular pressure (IOP), and histological analyzes. In order to investigate the neuroprotective effect, Wistar rats received intravitreal injections (right eye, n = 6) of peptides at 1.25 µg/mL and then were exposed to blue LED light. In addition, the visual function and the retinal microstructure were verified. Results: Cytotoxicity analyses demonstrated that the peptides did not present any toxicity over ARPE-19 (adult retinal pigmented epithelial) cell line and the antiangiogenic study highlighted that the peptides promoted the reduction of blood vessels. The intravitreal injection did not cause major changes, neither induced any irreversible damage. In the retinal degeneration assay, the ERG records demonstrated that the prior treatment with PnPa11 and PnPa13 protected the retina from damage. Morphological analyses confirmed the ERG findings. Immunoblotting analyses revealed that PnPa11 increased Erk1/2, NR2A, and NR2B retinal expression after the light stress model, but did not cause Akt1 activation, while PnPa13 prevented Erk1/2 and Akt1 dephosphorylation. Conclusions: The intraocular administration of these peptides was well tolerated and presented protective activity against retinal degeneration, suggesting the potential use of these peptides as neuroprotectors in the ophthalmological field.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Bothrops atrox is known to be the pit viper responsible for most snakebites and human fatalities in the Amazon region. It can be found in a wide geographical area including northern South America, the east of Andes and the Amazon basin. Possibly, due to its wide distribution and generalist feeding, intraspecific venom variation was reported by previous proteomics studies. Sex-based and ontogenetic variations on venom compositions of Bothrops snakes were also subject of proteomic and peptidomic analysis. However, the venom peptidome of B. atrox remains unknown. Methods: We conducted a mass spectrometry-based analysis of the venom peptides of individual male and female specimens combining bottom-up and top-down approaches. Results: We identified in B. atrox a total of 105 native peptides in the mass range of 0.4 to 13.9 kDa. Quantitative analysis showed that phospholipase A2 and bradykinin potentiating peptides were the most abundant peptide families in both genders, whereas disintegrin levels were significantly increased in the venoms of females. Known peptides processed at non-canonical sites and new peptides as the Ba1a, which contains the SVMP BATXSVMPII1 catalytic site, were also revealed in this work. Conclusion: The venom peptidomes of male and female specimens of B. atrox were analyzed by mass spectrometry-based approaches in this work. The study points to differences in disintegrin levels in the venoms of females that may result in distinct pathophysiology of envenomation. Further research is required to explore the potential biological implications of this finding.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Proteases play an important role for the proper physiological functions of the most diverse organisms. When unregulated, they are associated with several pathologies. Therefore, proteases have become potential therapeutic targets regarding the search for inhibitors. Snake venoms are complex mixtures of molecules that can feature a variety of functions, including peptidase inhibition. Considering this, the present study reports the purification and characterization of a Kunitz-type peptide present in the Dendroaspis polylepis venom as a simultaneous inhibitor of elastase-1 and cathepsin L. Methods: The low molecular weight pool from D. polylepis venom was fractionated in reverse phase HPLC and all peaks were tested in fluorimetric assays. The selected fraction that presented inhibitory activity over both proteases was submitted to mass spectrometry analysis, and the obtained sequence was determined as a Kunitz-type serine protease inhibitor homolog dendrotoxin I. The molecular docking of the Kunitz peptide on the elastase was carried out in the program Z-DOCK, and the program RosettaDock was used to add hydrogens to the models, which were re-ranked using ZRANK program. Results: The fraction containing the Kunitz molecule presented similar inhibition of both elastase-1 and cathepsin L. This Kunitz-type peptide was characterized as an uncompetitive inhibitor for elastase-1, presenting an inhibition constant (Ki) of 8 μM. The docking analysis led us to synthesize two peptides: PEP1, which was substrate for both elastase-1 and cathepsin L, and PEP2, a 30-mer cyclic peptide, which showed to be a cathepsin L competitive inhibitor, with a Ki of 1.96 µM, and an elastase-1 substrate. Conclusion: This work describes a Kunitz-type peptide toxin presenting inhibitory potential over serine and cysteine proteases, and this could contribute to further understand the envenomation process by D. polylepis. In addition, the PEP2 inhibits the cathepsin L activity with a low inhibition constant.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Snakebites remain a major life-threatening event worldwide. It is still difficult to make a positive identification of snake species by clinicians in both Western medicine and Chinese medicine. The main reason for this is a shortage of diagnostic biomarkers and lack of knowledge about pathways of venom-induced toxicity. In traditional Chinese medicine, snakebites are considered to be treated with wind, fire, and wind-fire toxin, but additional studies are required. Methods: Cases of snakebite seen at the Affiliated Hospital of Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine were grouped as follows: fire toxin - including four cases of bites by Agkistrodon acutus and three bites by Trimeresurus stejnegeri - and wind-fire toxin - four cases of bites by vipers and three bites by cobras. Serum protein quantification was performed using LC-MS/MS. Differential abundance proteins (DAPs) were identified from comparison of snakebites of each snake species and healthy controls. The protein interaction network was constructed using STITCH database. Results: Principal component analysis and hierarchical clustering of 474 unique proteins exhibited protein expression profiles of wind-fire toxins that are distinct from that of fire toxins. Ninety-three DAPs were identified in each snakebite subgroup as compared with healthy control, of which 38 proteins were found to have significantly different expression levels and 55 proteins displayed no expression in one subgroup, by subgroup comparison. GO analysis revealed that the DAPs participated in bicarbonate/oxygen transport and hydrogen peroxide catabolic process, and affected carbon-oxygen lyase activity and heme binding. Thirty DAPs directly or indirectly acted on hydrogen peroxide in the interaction network of proteins and drug compounds. The network was clustered into four groups: lipid metabolism and transport; IGF-mediated growth; oxygen transport; and innate immunity. Conclusions: Our results show that the pathways of snake venom-induced toxicity may form a protein network of antioxidant defense by regulating oxidative stress through interaction with hydrogen peroxide.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Variability in snake venoms is a well-studied phenomenon. However, sex-based variation of Bothrops atrox snake venom using siblings is poorly investigated. Bothrops atrox is responsible for the majority of snakebite accidents in the Brazilian Amazon region. Differences in the venom composition of Bothrops genus have been linked to several factors such as ontogeny, geographical distribution, prey preferences and sex. Thus, in the current study, venom samples of Bothrops atrox male and female siblings were analyzed in order to compare their biochemical and biological characteristics. Methods: Venoms were collected from five females and four males born from a snake captured from the wild in São Bento (Maranhão, Brazil), and kept in the Laboratory of Herpetology of Butantan Intitute. The venoms were analyzed individually and as a pool of each gender. The assays consisted in protein quantification, 1-DE, mass spectrometry, proteolytic, phospholipase A2, L-amino acid oxidase activities, minimum coagulant dose upon plasma, minimum hemorrhagic dose and lethal dose 50%. Results: Electrophoretic profiles of male’s and female’s venom pools were quite similar, with minor sex-based variation. Male venom showed higher LAAO, PLA2 and hemorrhagic activities, while female venom showed higher coagulant activity. On the other hand, the proteolytic activities did not show statistical differences between pools, although some individual variations were observed. Meanwhile, proteomic profile revealed 112 different protein compounds; of which 105 were common proteins of female’s and male’s venom pools and seven were unique to females. Despite individual variations, lethality of both pools showed similar values. Conclusion: Although differences between female and male venoms were observed, our results show that individual variations are significant even between siblings, highlighting that biological activities of venoms and its composition are influenced by other factors beyond gender.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Certain environmental toxins permanently damage the thymic epithelium, accelerate immune senescence and trigger secondary immune pathologies. However, the exact underlying cellular mechanisms and pathways of permanent immune intoxication remain unknown. The aim of the present study was to demonstrate gene expressional changes of apoptosis-related cellular pathways in human thymic epithelial cells following exposure to snake venom from Bitis gabonica and Dendroaspis angusticeps. Methods: Snake venoms were characterized by analytical methods including reversed phase high-performance liquid chromatography and sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, then applied on human thymic epithelial cells (1889c) for 24 h at 10 μg/mL (as used in previous TaqMan Array study). Gene expressional changes restricted to apoptosis were assayed by TaqMan Array (Human Apoptosis Plate). Results: The most prominent gene expressional changes were shown by CASP5 (≈ 2.5 million-fold, confirmed by dedicated quantitative polymerase chain reaction) and CARD9 (0.016-fold) for B. gabonica, and BIRC7 (6.46-fold) and CASP1 (0.30-fold) for D. angusticeps. Conclusion: The observed apoptotic environment suggests that pyroptosis may be the dominant pathway through which B. gabonica and D. angusticeps snake venoms trigger thymic epithelial apoptosis following envenomation.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Lack of complete genomic data of Bothrops jararaca impedes molecular biology research focusing on biotechnological applications of venom gland components. Identification of full-length coding regions of genes is crucial for the correct molecular cloning design. Methods: RNA was extracted from the venom gland of one adult female specimen of Bothrops jararaca. Deep sequencing of the mRNA library was performed using Illumina NextSeq 500 platform. De novo assembly of B. jararaca transcriptome was done using Trinity. Annotation was performed using Blast2GO. All predicted proteins after clustering step were blasted against non-redundant protein database of NCBI using BLASTP. Metabolic pathways present in the transcriptome were annotated using the KAAS-KEGG Automatic Annotation Server. Toxins were identified in the B. jararaca predicted proteome using BLASTP against all protein sequences obtained from Animal Toxin Annotation Project from Uniprot KB/Swiss-Pro database. Figures and data visualization were performed using ggplot2 package in R language environment. Results: We described the in-depth transcriptome analysis of B. jararaca venom gland, in which 76,765 de novo assembled isoforms, 96,044 transcribed genes and 41,196 unique proteins were identified. The most abundant transcript was the zinc metalloproteinase-disintegrin-like jararhagin. Moreover, we identified 78 distinct functional classes of proteins, including toxins, inhibitors and tumor suppressors. Other venom proteins identified were the hemolytic lethal factors stonustoxin and verrucotoxin. Conclusion: It is believed that the application of deep sequencing to the analysis of snake venom transcriptomes may represent invaluable insight on their biotechnological potential focusing on candidate molecules.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Endemic systemic mycoses remain a health challenge, since these opportunistic diseases are increasingly infecting immunosuppressed patients. The simultaneous use of antifungal compounds and other drugs to treat infectious or non-infectious diseases has led to several interactions and undesirable effects. Thus, new antifungal compounds should be investigated. The present study aimed to evaluate the activity of liriodenine extracted from Annona macroprophyllata on agents of systemic mycoses, with emphasis on the genus Paracoccidioides. Methods: The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum fungicide concentration (MFC) were determined by the microdilution method. The cellular alterations caused by liriodenine on a standard P. brasiliensis (Pb18) strain were evaluated by transmission and scanning electron microscopy. Results: Liriodenine was effective only in 3 of the 8 strains of the genus Paracoccidioides and in the Histoplasma capsulatum strain, in a very low concentration (MIC of 1.95 μg.mL-1); on yeasts of Candida spp. (MIC of 125 to 250 μg.mL-1), including C. krusei (250 μg.mL-1), which has intrinsic resistance to fluconazole; and in Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii (MIC of 62.5 μg.mL-1). However, liriodenine was not effective against Aspergillus fumigatus at the studied concentrations. Liriodenine exhibited fungicidal activity against all standard strains and clinical isolates that showed to be susceptible by in vitro tests. Electron microscopy revealed cytoplasmic alterations and damage to the cell wall of P. brasiliensis (Pb18). Conclusion: Our results indicate that liriodenine is a promising fungicidal compound that should undergo further investigation with some chemical modifications.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: The venom of bamboo vipers (Trimeresurus stejnegeri - TS), commonly found in Taiwan, contains deadly hemotoxins that cause severe envenomation. Equine-derived antivenom is a specific treatment against snakebites, but its production costs are high and there are some inevitable side effects. The aim of the present work is to help in the development of an affordable and more endurable therapeutic strategy for snakebites. Methods: T. stejnegeri venom proteins were inactivated by glutaraldehyde in order to immunize hens for polyclonal immunoglobulin (IgY) antibodies production. After IgY binding assays, two antibody libraries were constructed expressing single-chain variable fragment (scFv) antibodies joined by the short or long linker for use in phage display antibody technology. Four rounds of biopanning were carried out. The selected scFv antibodies were then further tested for their binding activities and neutralization assays to TS proteins. Results: Purified IgY from egg yolk showed the specific binding ability to TS proteins. The dimensions of these two libraries contain 2.4 × 107 and 6.8 × 107 antibody clones, respectively. An increase in the titers of eluted phage indicated anti-TS clones remarkably enriched after 2nd panning. The analysis based on the nucleotide sequences of selected scFv clones indicated that seven groups of short linkers and four groups of long linkers were identified. The recombinant scFvs showed significant reactivity to TS venom proteins and a cross-reaction to Trimeresurus mucrosquamatus venom proteins. In in vivo studies, the data demonstrated that anti-TS IgY provided 100% protective effects while combined scFvs augmented partial survival time of mice injected with a lethal amount of TS proteins. Conclusion: Chickens were excellent hosts for the production of neutralization antibodies at low cost. Phage display technology is available for generation of monoclonal antibodies against snake venom proteins. These antibodies could be applied in the development of diagnostic kits or as an alternative for snakebite envenomation treatment in the near future.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Snake venom phospholipases A2 (svPLA2) are biologically active toxins, capable of triggering and modulating a wide range of biological functions. Among the svPLA2s, crotoxin (CTX) has been in the spotlight of bioprospecting research due to its role in modulating immune response and hemostasis. In the present study, novel anticoagulant mechanisms of CTX, and the modulation of inflammation-induced coagulation were investigated. Methods: CTX anticoagulant activity was evaluated using platelet poor plasma (PPP) and whole blood (WB), and also using isolated coagulation factors and complexes. The toxin modulation of procoagulant and pro-inflammatory effects was evaluated using the expression of tissue factor (TF) and cytokines in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and in WB. Results: The results showed that CTX impaired clot formation in both PPP and WB, and was responsible for the inhibition of both intrinsic (TF/factor VIIa) and extrinsic (factor IXa/factor VIIIa) tenase complexes, but not for factor Xa and thrombin alone. In addition, the PLA2 mitigated the prothrombinase complex by modulating the coagulation phospholipid role in the complex. In regards to the inflammation-coagulation cross talk, the toxin was capable of reducing the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α, and was followed by decreased levels of TF and procoagulant activity from LPS-treated PBMC either isolated or in WB. Conclusion: The results obtained in the present study recognize the toxin as a novel medicinal candidate to be applied in inflammatory diseases with coagulation disorders.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a frequent complication of snakebite envenomation, which is still little known in sub-Saharan Africa. This study aims to describe the clinical, biological and ultrasonographic aspects of AKI following severe snakebite envenomation managed in the intensive care unit. Method: A prospective observational survey was performed in Benin over a period of 18 months. All patients suffering severe snakebite envenomation (SBE) were included. The diagnosis of AKI was made using the KDIGO criteria. Kidney ultrasound exam was performed in all patients to assess internal bleeding and morphological and structural abnormalities of the kidneys. Results: Fifty-one cases of severe SBE were included. All patients presented inflammatory syndrome and showed abnormal WBCT whereas bleeding was found in 46 of them (90%). The median time to hospital presentation was three days. The majority of patients were male (M/F sex ratio = 1.55) and the median age was 26. Sixteen patients (31%) showed AKI according to the KDIGO criteria. Severe AKI (KDIGO stage 2 and 3) was observed in three patients, including one stage 2 and two stage 3. Kidney ultrasound revealed three cases of kidney capsular hematoma (6%), two cases of kidney hypertrophy (3%), three cases of kidney injury (4%), two stage 1 KDIGO and one stage 2 KDIGO. Only one patient benefited from hemodialysis. All patients showing AKI recovered without sequels. The median duration of hospital stays was four days. Seven patients died (14%) including four among the 16 AKI patients. Antivenom has been administered to 41 patients (80%). The comparison between patients without and with AKI did not show any significant difference except gender (p = 10-2). Conclusion: AKI is a common complication of severe snakebite envenomation. Resulting from inflammatory and hemorrhagic disorders, AKI may prove to be a short-term life-threatening factor.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: The relationship between slow loris (Nycticebus spp.) venom (BGE protein) and the major cat allergen (Fel d 1) from domestic cat (Felis catus) is known for about two decades. Along this time, evidence was accumulated regarding convergences between them, including their almost identical mode of action. Methods: Large-scale database mining for Fel d 1 and BGE proteins in Felidae and Nycticebus spp., alignment, phylogeny proposition and molecular modelling, associated with directed literature review were assessed. Results: Fel d 1 sequences for 28 non-domestic felids were identified, along with two additional loris BGE protein sequences. Dimer interfaces are less conserved among sequences, and the chain 1 shows more sequence similarity than chain 2. Post-translational modification similarities are highly probable. Conclusions: Fel d 1 functions beyond allergy are discussed, considering the great conservation of felid orthologs of this protein. Reasons for toxicity being found only in domestic cats are proposed in the context of domestication. The combination of the literature review, genome-derived sequence data, and comparisons with the venomous primate slow loris may point to domestic cats as potentially poisonous mammals.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Resistance to apoptosis in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is associated with constitutive tyrosine kinase activity of the Bcr-Abl oncoprotein. The deregulated expression of apoptosis-related genes and alteration in epigenetic machinery may also contribute to apoptosis resistance in CML. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors target the Bcr-Abl oncoprotein and are used in CML treatment. The resistance of CML patients to tyrosine kinase inhibitors has guided the search for new compounds that may induce apoptosis in Bcr-Abl+ leukemic cells and improve the disease treatment. Methods: In the present study, we investigated whether the L-amino acid oxidase isolated from Bothrops moojeni snake venom (BmooLAAO-I) (i) was cytotoxic to Bcr-Abl+ cell lines (HL-60.Bcr-Abl, K562-S, and K562-R), HL-60 (acute promyelocytic leukemia) cells, the non-tumor cell line HEK-293, and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC); and (ii) affected epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation and microRNAs expression in vitro. Results: BmooLAAO-I induced ROS production, apoptosis, and differential DNA methylation pattern of regulatory apoptosis genes. The toxin upregulated expression of the pro-apoptotic genes BID and FADD and downregulated DFFA expression in leukemic cell lines, as well as increased miR-16 expression - whose major predicted target is the anti-apoptotic gene BCL2 - in Bcr-Abl+ cells. Conclusion: BmooLAAO-I exerts selective antitumor action mediated by H2O2 release and induces apoptosis, and alterations in epigenetic mechanisms. These results support future investigations on the effect of BmooLAAO-I on in vivo models to determine its potential in CML therapy.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Snakebite envenoming can be a life-threatening condition, for which emergency care is essential. The Bothrops (lancehead) genus is responsible for most snakebite-related deaths and permanent loss of function in human victims in Latin America. Bothrops spp. venom is a complex mixture of different proteins that are known to cause local necrosis, coagulopathy, and acute kidney injury. However, the long-term effects of these viper envenomings have remained largely understudied. Case presentation: Here, we present a case report of a 46-years old female patient from Las Claritas, Venezuela, who was envenomed by a snake from the Bothrops genus. The patient was followed for a 10-year period, during which she presented oliguric renal failure, culminating in kidney failure 60 months after the envenoming. Conclusion: In Latin America, especially in Brazil, where there is a high prevalence of Bothrops envenoming, it may be relevant to establish long-term outpatient programs. This would reduce late adverse events, such as chronic kidney disease, and optimize public financial resources by avoiding hemodialysis and consequently kidney transplantation.
Abstract in English:Abstract There are numerous conflicting recommendations available on the use of antibiotics following snakebite. The present letter to the editor presents some recommendations based on recent studies, and aims to stimulate debate on this topic.
Abstract in English:Abstract Background: Phoneutria nigriventer spider venom contains several cysteine-rich peptide toxins that act on different ion channels. Despite extensive studies on its venom and description of cDNA sequences of several of its toxin precursors, the gene structure of these toxins remains unknown. Methods: Genomic regions encoding the precursors of three previously characterized P. nigriventer toxins - PnTx1, PnTx2-5 and PnTx4(5-5) - were amplified by PCR using specific primers. PCR fragments were cloned and sequenced. Obtained sequences were compared with their corresponding cDNA sequences. Results: The size of PCR fragments obtained and sequences corresponding to genomic regions encoding for the toxin precursors matched their cDNA sequences. Conclusions: Despite a few nucleotide substitutions in the genomic regions encoding for the toxin precursors when compared with cDNA sequences, the results of the present work indicate that P. nigriventer toxins do not contain introns in their genes sequences.
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT Background: Neuroblastoma is a pediatric tumor with a mortality rate of 40% in the most aggressive cases. Tumor microenvironment components as immune cells contribute to the tumor progression; thereby, the modulation of immune cells to a pro-inflammatory and antitumoral profile could potentialize the immunotherapy, a suggested approach for high-risk patients. Preview studies showed the antitumoral potential of BJcuL, a C- type lectin isolated from Bothrops jararacussu venom. It was able to induce immunomodulatory responses, promoting the rolling and adhesion of leukocytes and the activation of neutrophils. Methods: SK-N-SH cells were incubated with conditioned media (CM) obtained during the treatment of neutrophils with BJcuL and fMLP, a bacteria-derived peptide highly effective for activating neutrophil functions. Then we evaluated the effect of the same stimulation on the co-cultivation of neutrophils and SK-N-SH cells. Tumor cells were tested for viability, migration, and invasion potential. Results: In the viability assay, only neutrophils treated with BJcuL (24 h) and cultivated with SK-N-SH were cytotoxic. Migration of tumor cells decreased when incubated directly (p < 0.001) or indirectly (p < 0.005) with untreated neutrophils. When invasion potential was evaluated, neutrophils incubated with BJcuL reduced the total number of colonies of SK-N-SH cells following co-cultivation for 24 h (p < 0.005). Treatment with CM resulted in decreased anchorage-free survival following 24 h of treatment (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Data demonstrated that SK-N-SH cells maintain their migratory potential in the face of neutrophil modulation by BJcuL, but their invasive capacity was significantly reduced.