Preclinical assessment of a polyspecific antivenom against the venoms ofCerrophidion sasai, Porthidium nasutumandPorthidium ophryomegas: Insights from combined antivenomics and neutralization assays

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A polyspecific antivenom is used in Central America for the treatment of envenomings by viperid snakes. This antivenom is generated in horses hyperimmunized with a mixture of venoms from Bothrops asper, Crotalus simus and Lachesis stenophrys. The present study analyzed the ability of this antivenom to neutralize the venoms of three Central American viperid species of the ‘Porthidium group’, i.e. Porthidium nasutum, Porthidium ophryomegas and Cerrophidion sasai, formerly classified as Cerrophidion godmani. In addition, the immunorecognition of the components of these venoms was assessed by immunoaffinity antivenomics. The antivenom proved effective in neutralizing the lethal, hemorrhagic, myotoxic, phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and proteinase activities of the three venoms, albeit exhibiting quantitative differences in the values of the Median Effective Doses (ED50). Excepting for certain low molecular mass bands corresponding to disintegrins, and some PLA2s and PI-metalloproteinases, Western blotting and immunoaffinity chromatography revealed immunorecognition of most Porthidium and Cerrophidion venom proteins. In agreement with in vivo neutralization assays, immobilized antivenom IgGs showed higher immunocapturing activity of toxins from both Porthidium taxa than from C. sasai. Overall our results demonstrate a significant paraspecific protection of the Costa Rican polyspecific antivenom against the three venoms sampled. They also stress the need to search for novel ways to enhance the immune response of horses against several weakly immunogenic venom components.

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