Analyzing the influence of age and sex in Bothrops pauloensis snake venom

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Considerable heterogeneity and ontogenetic changes in venom composition have already been observed in different species of snakes within the Viperidae family. Since the venom of young and adult can cause distinct pathological effects and because the antivenom may be less effective in neutralizing envenoming by young snakes compared to adults, it is of paramount importance to understand the ontogenetic variation of snake venom. Thus, the present study aimed to analyze and compare the venom of Bothrops pauloensis snakes, searching for possible influences of ontogeny and sex in their biochemical and biological aspects. The venom of younger individuals was more complex in relation to high molecular mass proteins, with a greater abundance of metalloproteinases, while adults showed a greater abundance of medium and low molecular mass proteins, such as phospholipases A2 (PLA2), C-type lectins and serine proteases. The antivenom showed better immunorecognition towards the venom of adult snakes than younger ones, in addition to a deficiency in the recognition of medium molecular mass proteins, suggesting the need for an improvement in the antivenom. Younger snakes showed higher coagulant, caseinolytic, and hemorrhagic activity, while adult snakes showed higher L-amino acid oxidase (LAAO) activity and acted faster in lethality. Differences between males and females were observed mainly in the rate of loss of coagulant activity, change in PLA2 activity and lethality action time. Furthermore, considering only the adult groups, males showed a higher LAAO and thrombin-like activity, while females showed a higher caseinolytic and hyaluronidase activity. With the results obtained in this work, it was possible to conclude that there is an ontogenetic variation in the composition and some activities of the B. pauloensis snake venom, in addition to differences between the venom of males and females, reinforcing that there is an intraspecific variation that may result in different symptoms in their envenoming and, consequently, differences in the response to treatment with the antivenom.
Tasima LJ, Hatakeyama DM, Aguiar WS, Lima EOV, Miyamoto JG, Tashima AK, et al. Analyzing the influence of age and sex in Bothrops pauloensis snake venom. Toxicon. 2022 Jul; 214:78-90. doi:10.1016/j.toxicon.2022.05.007.
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