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Impact of Naja nigricollis Venom on the Production of Methaemoglobin

Williams, Harry, Hayter, Paul, Ravishankar, Divyashree, Baines, Anthony J., Layfield, Harry, Croucher, Lorraine, Wark, Catherine, Bicknell, Andrew, Trim, Steven, Vaiyapuri, Sakthivel and others. (2018) Impact of Naja nigricollis Venom on the Production of Methaemoglobin. Toxins, 10 (12). Article Number 539. ISSN 2072-6651. (doi:10.3390/toxins10120539) (KAR id:71534)


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
DOI/Identification number: 10.3390/toxins10120539
Uncontrolled keywords: Snakebite; venom; methaemoglobin; haemoglobin; neglected tropical disease; spitting cobra
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Biosciences
Depositing User: Susan Davies
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2019 10:29 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 18:52 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Baines, Anthony J..

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