Action of bromelain and ficin on horse anti Bothrops sp venom antibodies

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The treatment with hyperimmune sera constitute the only specific and effective therapy available against snakebite envenomation, most common in developing countries. Serum quality is an important factor on patient recovery time and in the incidence of death and permanent disability. To date, most sera consist of pepsin digested IgG antibodies harvested from hyperimmune animals. The use of animal derived enzymes, such as pepsin, to digest IgG, constitute a source of adventitious agents and contaminants, such as porcine circovirus. The present study aims to evaluate the use of the plant derived enzymes bromelain and ficin, as an alternative to pepsin. To this purpose, horse serum immunized against Bothrops venoms was purified with caprylic acid and digested with bromelain or ficin. SDS-PAGE results evidence the formation of F(ab)’2 fragments and suggest that a digestion time superior to 8 hours may be required to completely digest the antibodies with bromelain or ficin. F(ab)’2 fragments obtained by digestion with either bromelain or ficin digestion preserved the ability to recognize Bothrops sp. venom in western blotting assays. Therefore, both enzymes are suitable for use in large-scale production, minimizing contamination risks and increasing safety and efficiency of serotherapy treatments.
Marques RF, Quintilio W, Knirsch MC, Fucase TM, Spencer PJ, Stephano MA. Action of bromelain and ficin on horse anti Bothrops sp venom antibodies. Braz J Pharm Sci. 2022 Dec; 58:e20867. doi:10.1590/s2175-97902022e20867.
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