Involvement of von Willebrand factor and botrocetin in the thrombocytopenia induced by Bothrops jararaca snake venom

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Patients bitten by snakes consistently manifest a bleeding tendency, in which thrombocytopenia, consumption coagulopathy, mucous bleeding, and, more rarely, thrombotic microangiopathy, are observed. Von Willebrand factor (VWF) is required for primary hemostasis, and some venom proteins, such as botrocetin (a C-type lectin-like protein) and snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMP), disturb the normal interaction between platelets and VWF, possibly contributing to snakebite-induced bleedings. To understand the relationship among plasma VWF, platelets, botrocetin and SVMP from Bothrops jararaca snake venom (BjV) in the development of thrombocytopenia, we used (a) Wistar rats injected s.c. with BjV preincubated with anti-botrocetin antibodies (ABA) and/or Na2-EDTA (a SVMP inhibitor), and (b) VWF knockout mice (Vwf-/-) injected with BjV. Under all conditions, BjV induced a rapid and intense thrombocytopenia. In rats, BjV alone reduced the levels of VWF:Ag, VWF:CB, high molecular weight multimers of VWF, ADAMTS13 activity, and factor VIII. Moreover, VWF:Ag levels in rats that received BjV preincubated with Na2-EDTA and/or ABA tended to recover faster. In mice, BjV caused thrombocytopenia in both Vwf-/- and C57BL/6 (background control) strains, and VWF:Ag levels tended to decrease in C57BL/6, demonstrating that thrombocytopenia was independent of the presence of plasma VWF. These findings showed that botrocetin present in BjV failed to affect the extent or the time course of thrombocytopenia induced by envenomation, but it contributed to decrease the levels and function of plasma VWF. Thus, VWF alterations during B. jararaca envenomation are an ancillary event, and not the main mechanism leading to decreased platelet counts.
Thomazini CM, Sachetto ATA, Albuquerque CZ, Mattaraia VGM, Oliveira AK, Serrano SMT, et al. Involvement of von Willebrand factor and botrocetin in the thrombocytopenia induced by Bothrops jararaca snake venom. PLoS. Negl. Trop. Dis.. 2021 Sept;15(9):e0009715. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0009715.
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