Sexual and ontogenetic variation of Bothrops leucurus venom

Various factors, such as geographical origin, climate, sex, age and diet can influence the composition and pathophysiological activities of snake venoms. In this study, we examined the sexual and ontogenetic variations in the venom of Bothrops leucurus, a pitviper responsible for more than 80% of the snakebites in the state of Bahia, northeastern Brazilian. The venoms of 31 snakes were pooled according to sex and age (young, adult and old) and screened by SDS-PAGE (in reducing and non-reducing conditions), reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC), gelatin zymography, and immunoblotting with therapeutic bothropic antivenom (BAV) from the Instituto Butantan. The electrophoretic and chromatographic profiles showed intraspecific ontogenetic variation, whereas sexual variations were less evident. All venoms showed gelatinolytic activity associated with 50–75 kDa protein bands. In addition, all venoms, regardless of the snakes' sex and age, cross-reacted to similar extents with BAV. Our findings show that B. leucurus venom changes during ontogenetic development and demonstrate sexual differences in its composition, indicating differences in biological activity.
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Age;  Bothrops leucurus;  Sex;  Snake venom;  Variability

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Braga JRM, Morais-Zani K, Pereira DS, Sant'Anna SS, Galizio NC, Tanaka-Azevedo AM, et al. Sexual and ontogenetic variation of Bothrops leucurus venom. Toxicon. 2020 Sep;184:127-135. doi:10.1016/j.toxicon.2020.05.028.
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