A comparative study of biological activities of crotoxin and CB fraction of venoms fromCrotalus durissus terrificus, Crotalus durissus cascavellaandCrotalus durissus collilineatus

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Abstract

In Brazil, the Crotalus durissus terrificus subspecie is the most studied, particularly concerning its crotoxin. Crotoxin is the major toxic component of the South American rattlesnake Crotalus durissus venom. It is composed of two different subunits, CA called crotapotin and CB weakly toxic phospholipase A2 with high enzymatic activity. In this paper, we decided to make a study of the main toxic characteristics of crotoxin (CTX) and CB fraction from the other subspecies, Crotalus durissus cascavella and of Crotalus durissus collilineatus, in comparison with those of C. d. terrificus. Ours results have shown that the venoms presented similar chromatographic profiles and the purified fractions were free of contaminants. Regarding the toxic activities, the DL50 of the crotoxins showed no significant differences between the subspecies. The smaller toxicity of CB indicated that the toxicity of the crotoxin complex depends on the interaction between CA and CB. CTX and fraction CB of the three species of Crotalus showed negligible proteolytic activity. C. d. terrificus CTX presented higher PLA2 activity when compared with the others two subspecies. The oedema induced by CB developed later than the CTX and reached its peak 3 h after the injection. The myotoxic activity was determined by assaying serum CK levels. Mice injected with CTX of C. d. terrificus presented greater myotoxic activity compared to the others. The myotoxic activity of CB from the three subspecies was lower than the activity of the crotoxin, reinforcing the idea that the fraction CA increases the toxicity of CB.

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