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Highlights in Toxinology: Challenges and Progress

Edited by Benedito Barraviera and Maria Elena de Lima

We are pleased to publish in Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases a collection focused on the latest advances in the field of Toxinology. 

The history of venom studies traces back more than two millennia. Aristotle (384-322 BC), for example, in his Historia Animalium he offered details on venomous animals and their bites. Initially, venom studies were focused only on medical outcomes due to the high number of fatalities occurring especially in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, including America, Africa, Asia and Australia.

Currently, enormous progress has been made aiming to treat or prevent deleterious or deadly actions of toxins from animals and plants. Moreover, venoms have become an almost inexhaustible source of biologically active molecules. Among those, several are models for drugs or tools for studying the structure and function of biological systems, such as the nervous, cardiovascular, neuromuscular and others.

More than 20% of the world biodiversity is found in Brazil, where the study of animal venoms and toxins began in the 1900s with the pioneering work of Vital Brazil Mineiro da Campanha, a physician internationally renowned for the discovery of antivenom specificity. Since then, Brazil has invested little in the area of Toxinology. One of the most successful projects, called Toxinologia-CAPES, was launched in 2010 by the Brazilian Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES).

In 2016, the moment in which the project is being concluded, it is possible to celebrate the qualification of dozens of masters and doctors and hundreds of students, who participated in international congresses and presented their thesis and dissertations with brilliance. Needless to say that several discovered molecules became candidates for drug development, which means that countless papers were published and numerous patents were submitted.

In this special collection, we wish to honor the researchers that took part in the Toxinologia-CAPES project by publishing their best production of the period, which demonstrates the high level of science in Brazil in this area. It also reinforces the need of continuous support to the research on natural substances of this great biodiversity, because knowledge is the key to preservation.

This collection has been funded by CAPES (Edital Toxinologia 063/2010) and articles have undergone the journal’s standard peer-review process. The Editors declare no competing interests.

View all collections published in Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases.

  1. Short report

    Antivenomics as a tool to improve the neutralizing capacity of the crotalic antivenom: a study with crotamine

    Snakebite treatment requires administration of an appropriate antivenom that should contain antibodies capable of neutralizing the venom. To achieve this goal, antivenom production must start from a suitable i...

    Ricardo Teixeira-Araújo, Patrícia Castanheira, Leonora Brazil-Más, Francisco Pontes, Moema Leitão de Araújo, Maria Lucia Machado Alves, Russolina Benedeta Zingali and Carlos Correa-Netto

    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2017 23:28

    Published on: 12 May 2017

  2. Review

    Heterologous fibrin sealant derived from snake venom: from bench to bedside – an overview

    Hemostatic and adhesive agents date back to World War II, when homologous fibrin sealant came onto scene. Considering that infectious diseases can be transmitted via human blood, a new heterologous fibrin seal...

    Rui Seabra Ferreira, Luciana Curtolo de Barros, Luciana Patrícia Fernandes Abbade, Silvia Regina Catharino Sartori Barraviera, Maria Regina Cavariani Silvares, Leticia Gomes de Pontes, Lucilene Delazari dos Santos and Benedito Barraviera

    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2017 23:21

    Published on: 4 April 2017

  3. Review

    Alpha-type phospholipase A2 inhibitors from snake blood

    It is of popular and scientific knowledge that toxins from snake venom (among them the PLA2 and myotoxins) are neutralized by various compounds, such as antibodies and proteins purified from animal blood. Venomou...

    Norival A. Santos-Filho and Claudia T. Santos

    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2017 23:19

    Published on: 23 March 2017

  4. Research

    Articular inflammation induced by an enzymatically-inactive Lys49 phospholipase A2: activation of endogenous phospholipases contributes to the pronociceptive effect

    Arthritis is a set of inflammatory conditions that induce aching, stiffness, swelling, pain and may cause functional disability with severe consequences to the patient’s lives. These are multi-mediated patholo...

    Renata Gonçalves Dias, Sandra Coccuzzo Sampaio, Morena Brazil Sant’Anna, Fernando Queiroz Cunha, José María Gutiérrez, Bruno Lomonte, Yara Cury and Gisele Picolo

    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2017 23:18

    Published on: 23 March 2017

  5. Research

    A clinical trial protocol to treat massive Africanized honeybee (Apis mellifera) attack with a new apilic antivenom

    Envenomation caused by multiple stings from Africanized honeybees Apis mellifera constitutes a public health problem in the Americas. In 2015, the Brazilian Ministry of Health reported 13,597 accidents (incidence...

    Alexandre Naime Barbosa, Leslie Boyer, Jean-Philippe Chippaux, Natalia Bronzatto Medolago, Carlos Antonio Caramori, Ariane Gomes Paixão, João Paulo Vasconcelos Poli, Mônica Bannwart Mendes, Lucilene Delazari dos Santos, Rui Seabra Ferreira and Benedito Barraviera

    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2017 23:14

    Published on: 16 March 2017

  6. Review

    Multiple uses of fibrin sealant for nervous system treatment following injury and disease

    Lesions to the nervous system often produce hemorrhage and tissue loss that are difficult, if not impossible, to repair. Therefore, scar formation, inflammation and cavitation take place, expanding the lesion ...

    Natalia Perussi Biscola, Luciana Politti Cartarozzi, Suzana Ulian-Benitez, Roberta Barbizan, Mateus Vidigal Castro, Aline Barroso Spejo, Rui Seabra Ferreira, Benedito Barraviera and Alexandre Leite Rodrigues Oliveira

    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2017 23:13

    Published on: 14 March 2017

  7. Research

    Can anti-bothropstoxin-I antibodies discriminate between Bothrops jararaca and Bothrops jararacussu venoms?

    Snakes of the genus Bothrops, popularly known as pit vipers, are responsible for most cases of snakebite in Brazil. Within this genus, Bothrops jararacussu and B. jararaca deserve special attention due to the sev...

    Ricardo Teixeira Araujo, Carlos Corrêa-Netto, Leonora Brazil-Más, Caio Raony Farina Silveira, Irene Fernandes and Russolina Benedeta Zingali

    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2017 23:12

    Published on: 11 March 2017

  8. Research

    Structural determinants of the hyperalgesic activity of myotoxic Lys49-phospholipase A2

    Bothropstoxin-I (BthTx-I) is a Lys49-phospholipase A2 (Lys49-PLA2) from the venom of Bothrops jararacussu, which despite of the lack of catalytic activity induces myotoxicity, inflammation and pain. The C-termina...

    Vanessa Olzon Zambelli, Lucimara Chioato, Vanessa Pacciari Gutierrez, Richard John Ward and Yara Cury

    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2017 23:7

    Published on: 10 February 2017

  9. Review

    Highlights in the knowledge of brown spider toxins

    Brown spiders are venomous arthropods that use their venom for predation and defense. In humans, bites of these animals provoke injuries including dermonecrosis with gravitational spread of lesions, hematologi...

    Daniele Chaves-Moreira, Andrea Senff-Ribeiro, Ana Carolina Martins Wille, Luiza Helena Gremski, Olga Meiri Chaim and Silvio Sanches Veiga

    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2017 23:6

    Published on: 8 February 2017

  10. Research

    Ocellatin peptides from the skin secretion of the South American frog Leptodactylus labyrinthicus (Leptodactylidae): characterization, antimicrobial activities and membrane interactions

    The availability of antimicrobial peptides from several different natural sources has opened an avenue for the discovery of new biologically active molecules. To the best of our knowledge, only two peptides is...

    Karla A. G. Gusmão, Daniel M. dos Santos, Virgílio M. Santos, María Esperanza Cortés, Pablo V. M. Reis, Vera L. Santos, Dorila Piló-Veloso, Rodrigo M. Verly, Maria Elena de Lima and Jarbas M. Resende

    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2017 23:4

    Published on: 19 January 2017

  11. Review

    Antiviral activity of animal venom peptides and related compounds

    Viruses exhibit rapid mutational capacity to trick and infect host cells, sometimes assisted through virus-coded peptides that counteract host cellular immune defense. Although a large number of compounds have...

    Élida Cleyse Gomes da Mata, Caroline Barbosa Farias Mourão, Marisa Rangel and Elisabeth Ferroni Schwartz

    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2017 23:3

    Published on: 6 January 2017

  12. Research

    Exploring the in vivo wound healing effects of a recombinant hemolin from the caterpillar Lonomia obliqua

    Hemolin proteins are cell adhesion molecules from lepidopterans involved in a wide range of cell interactions concerning their adhesion properties. However, hemolin’s roles in cell proliferation and wound heal...

    Ana Claudia Sato, Rosemary Viola Bosch, Sonia Elisabete Alves Will, Miryam Paola Alvarez-Flores, Mauricio Barbugiani Goldfeder, Kerly Fernanda Mesquita Pasqualoto, Bárbara Athayde Vaz Galvão da Silva, Sonia Aparecida de Andrade and Ana Marisa Chudzinski-Tavassi

    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2016 22:36

    Published on: 21 December 2016

  13. Research

    A spider derived peptide, PnPP-19, induces central antinociception mediated by opioid and cannabinoid systems

    Some peptides purified from the venom of the spider Phoneutria nigriventer have been identified as potential sources of drugs for pain treatment. In this study, we characterized the antinociceptive effect of the ...

    Daniela da Fonseca Pacheco, Ana Cristina Nogueira Freitas, Adriano Monteiro C. Pimenta, Igor Dimitri Gama Duarte and Maria Elena de Lima

    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2016 22:34

    Published on: 21 December 2016

  14. Review

    Endogenous phospholipase A2 inhibitors in snakes: a brief overview

    The blood plasma of numerous snake species naturally comprises endogenous phospholipase A2 inhibitors, which primarily neutralize toxic phospholipases A2 that may eventually reach their circulation. This inhibito...

    Patrícia Cota Campos, Lutiana Amaral de Melo, Gabriel Latorre Fortes Dias and Consuelo Latorre Fortes-Dias

    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2016 22:37

    Published on: 21 December 2016

  15. Review

    A review on the Scorpaena plumieri fish venom and its bioactive compounds

    The most poisonous fish species found along the Brazilian coast is the spotted scorpionfish Scorpaena plumieri. Though hardly ever life-threatening to humans, envenomation by S. plumieri can be quite hazardous, p...

    Fabiana V. Campos, Thiago N. Menezes, Pedro F. Malacarne, Fábio L. S. Costa, Gustavo B. Naumann, Helena L. Gomes and Suely G. Figueiredo

    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2016 22:35

    Published on: 21 December 2016