Examination of biochemical and biological activities ofBothrops jararaca(Serpentes: Viperidae; Wied-Neuwied 1824) snake venom after up to 54 years of storage

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Abstract

The number of snakes donated to the Brazilian Instituto Butantan has been decreasing in the past 10 years. This circumstance motivated us to compare the properties of five venom pools of Bothrops jararaca snake stored for up to 54 years. Results showed differences among venom pools regarding enzymatic and other biological activities, such as caseinolytic, phospholipase A2, hemorrhagic and coagulant activities, as well as antigenicity. Protein content, reverse-phase chromatographic profile, and immunorecognition by commercial Bothrops antivenom were comparable for all venom pools, although lethality of the most recent preparations was higher. Since the lowest functional activities did not always correspond to older venoms, differences among venom pools used for antivenom production during the period 1963–2008 may correlate with the different proportions of venoms from different localities used in their generation, rather than to long-term storage. We conclude that B. jararaca venoms properly stored for long periods of time retain their structural and pharmacological activities, thus representing useful materials for scientific research and antivenom production.

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