Biting back - snake venom contains toxic clotting factors
27 Feb 2013
The powerful venom of the saw-scaled viper Echis carinatus contains both anticoagulants and coagulants finds a study published in the launch edition of BioMed Central’s open access journal Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases (JVATiTD). These may be a source of potent drugs to treat human disease.
The saw-scaled viper family Echis, responsible for most snake attacks on humans, are recognizable by the ‘sizzling’ noise they make, produced by rubbing together special serrated scales, when threatened. Echis venom causes coagulopathy, which can result in symptoms ranging from lack of blood clotting, hemorrhage, renal failure and stroke.
Researchers from the Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, Iran led by Hossein Zolfagharian noted that treating plasma with venom from Echis carinatus actually causes it to coagulate. Splitting the venom by ion exchange chromatography showed that then venom contained both coagulants and anticoagulants. The clotting factors alone were toxic to mice.
The diametric effects of snake venom on blood are of interest because of medical applications, and although snakes can be considered as dangerous to humans – they may yet save lives.
In the auspicious Year of the Snake, BioMed Central, the open access publisher, is pleased to announce that the Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases (JVATiTD), the official academic journal of the The Center for the Study of Venoms and Venomous Animals (CEVAP) of São Paulo State University (UNESP), based in Brazil, has moved to BioMed Central's open access publishing platform. Also this journal marks growth of BioMed Central’s portfolio of open access journals to 250.
Along with research into snakes JVATiTD publishes studies into all aspects of toxins, venomous animals, and their derivative products, as well as tropical diseases especially infectious diseases, parasites and immunology.
- ENDS -
Dr Hilary Glover
Scientific Press Officer, BioMed Central
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3192 2370
Mob: +44 (0) 778 698 1967
1. In vivo evaluation of homeostatic effects of Echis carinatus snake venom in Iran
Hossein Salmanizadeh, Mahdi Babaie and Hossein Zolfagharian
Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 2013, 19:3
2. Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases (JVATiTD) is an open access interdisciplinary publication, dedicated to research on all aspects of toxins, venomous animals and their derivative products. @JVATiTD
3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector. @BioMedCentral
4. The Center for the Study of Venoms and Venomous Animals (CEVAP) was established in 1989 and became an official São Paulo State University (UNESP) research unit in 1993.
CEVAP's mission is to provide world class expertise on venomous animals, their toxins and the derivatives. Its objectives include:
• the extraction of toxins to develop experimental research, immunobiological products and clinical trials
• to develop biotechnological study of animal toxins
• administering traditional or long-distance graduate and specialization courses