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Profiling the Murine Acute Phase and Inflammatory Responses to African Snake Venom: An Approach to Inform Acute Snakebite Pathology

Al Solaiss, Jaffer ORCID:, Evans, Chloe, Oluoch, George O., Casewell, Nicholas ORCID: and Harrison, Robert (2022) 'Profiling the Murine Acute Phase and Inflammatory Responses to African Snake Venom: An Approach to Inform Acute Snakebite Pathology'. Toxins, Vol 14, Issue 4, e229.

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Snake envenoming causes rapid systemic and local effects that often result in fatal or long-term disability outcomes. It seems likely that acute phase and inflammatory responses contribute to these haemorrhagic, coagulopathic, neurotoxic, nephrotoxic and local tissue destructive pathologies. However, the contributory role of acute phase/inflammatory responses to envenoming is under-researched and poorly understood—particularly for envenoming by sub-Saharan African venomous snakes. To provide data to help guide future studies of human patients, and to explore the rationale for adjunct anti-inflammatory medication, here we used an in vivo murine model to systematically assess acute phase and inflammatory responses of mice to ten African snake venoms. In addition to investigating snake species-specific effects of venom on the cardiovascular system and other key organs and tissues, we examined the response to intravascular envenoming by acute phase reactants, including serum amyloid A, P-selectin and haptoglobin, and several cytokines. Venoms of the spitting (Naja nigricollis) and forest (N. melanoleuca) cobras resulted in higher acute phase and inflammatory responses than venoms from the other cobras, mambas and vipers tested. Naja nigricollis venom also stimulated a 100-fold increase in systemic interleukin 6. Thin blood films from venom-treated mice revealed species-specific changes in red blood cell morphology, indicative of membrane abnormalities and functional damage, lymphopenia and neutrophil leukocytosis. Our ex vivo assays with healthy human blood treated with these venoms identified that N. nigricollis venom induced marked levels of haemolysis and platelet aggregation. We conclude that African snake venoms stimulate very diverse responses in this mouse model of acute systemic envenoming, and that venoms of the African cobras N. nigricollis and N. melanoleuca, in particular, cause marked inflammatory and non-specific acute phase responses. We also report that several African snake venoms cause haemolytic changes. These findings emphasise the importance of understanding acute responses to envenoming, and that further research in this area may facilitate new diagnostic and treatment approaches, which in turn may lead to better clinical outcomes for snakebite patients.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QW Microbiology and Immunology > Antigens and Antibodies. Toxins and Antitoxins > QW 630 Toxins. Antitoxins
WD Disorders of Systemic, Metabolic or Environmental Origin, etc > Animal Poisons > WD 410 Reptiles
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Department of Tropical Disease Biology
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: JISC Pubrouter
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2022 10:46
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2023 14:39


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