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Host response toBothrops asper snake venom

Analysis of edema formation, inflammatory cells, and cytokine release in a mouse model


As part of the characterization of the host reactivity to the venom ofBothrops asper, we investigated the inflammatory responses in the mouse footpad model. The subcutaneously injected venom induced a rapid increase of serum IL-6 concentration, which peaked between 3 and 6 h and returned to normal values at 12 h. In contrast, serum TNF-α and IL-1α were not detectable at any time point studied. A myotoxic phospholipase A2 isoform purified from this venom, myotoxin II, was also able to induce a systemic IL-6 release when injected into the footpad. Both venom and myotoxin induced local edema and a leukocyte infiltrate accumulating in the muscle and subdermal tissue within 6 h. The infiltrate consisted predominantly of neutrophils at 6 and 24 h, but at later times, mononuclear cells also appeared. The edema, leukocyte infiltration, and IL-6 responses did not depend on the hemorrhagic activity of venom, since all three effects were seen after injection of (1) preneutralized venom, devoid of hemorrhagic activity, and (2) purified myotoxin II. Circulating platelet numbers were significantly decreased 30 min after venom injection and returned to normal after 12 h. The venom also induced a rapid inversion in the ratio of neutrophils to lymphocytes in peripheral blood, which did not normalize until 12 h later. The present observations suggest that venom, besides its cytotoxic properties, induces early hematologic and immunologic alterations. These findings may be of relevance in future treatment modalities.

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Lomonte, B., Tarkowski, A. & Hanson, L.Å. Host response toBothrops asper snake venom. Inflammation 17, 93–105 (1993).

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  • Snake Venom
  • Platelet Number
  • Leukocyte Infiltrate
  • Local Edema
  • Immunologic Alteration