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Impact of Naja nigricollis venom on the production of methaemoglobin

Williams, H. F., Hayter, P., Ravishankar, D., Baines, A., Layfield, H. J., Croucher, L., Wark, C., Bicknell, A. B., Trim, S. and Vaiyapuri, S. ORCID: (2018) Impact of Naja nigricollis venom on the production of methaemoglobin. Toxins, 10 (12). 539. ISSN 2072-6651

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/toxins10120539


Snakebite envenomation is an affliction currently estimated to be killing upwards of 100,000 people annually. Snakebite is associated with a diverse pathophysiology due to the magnitude of variation in venom composition that is observed worldwide. The haemolytic (i.e., lysis of red blood cells) actions of snake venoms are well documented, although the direct impact of venoms on haemoglobin is not fully understood. Here we report on the varied ability of a multitude of snake venoms to oxidise haemoglobin into methaemoglobin. Moreover, our results demonstrate that the venom of an elapid, the black necked spitting cobra, Naja nigricollis, oxidises oxyhaemoglobin (Fe2+) into methaemoglobin (Fe3+) in a time- and concentration-dependent manner that is unparalleled within the 47 viper and elapid venoms evaluated. The treatment of venom with a reducing agent, dithiothreitol (DTT) is observed to potentiate this effect at higher concentrations, and the use of denatured venom demonstrates that this effect is dependent upon the heat-sensitive proteinaceous elements of the venom. Together, our results suggest that Naja nigricollis venom appears to promote methaemoglobin production to a degree that is rare within the Elapidae family, and this activity appears to be independent of proteolytic activities of venom components on haemoglobin.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Biomedical Sciences
Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > School of Pharmacy > Division of Pharmacology
ID Code:81151


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