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article imagePlant based compound acts as anti-venom treatment

By Tim Sandle     Oct 21, 2018 in Health
Researchers have discovered that a flavonoid found in plants is effective as acting as an anti-venom compound against the toxin from the South American pit viper Bothrops jaraca. This could become the basis of a new medicine.
The research comes from the Institute Butantan, São Paulo, Brazil. Here scientists discovered that rutin, which is a plant-based flavonoid compound, can protect test mice from bleeding and inflammation problems following contact with the venom.
According to the publication Drug Target Review, a bite from Bothrops jaraca leads to swelling at the site of the bite together with blistering and hypotension (low blood pressure, especially in the arteries of the systemic circulation). In some cases, a bite can cause systemic bleeding from the skin, which can lead to death from shock, intracranial hemorrhage or renal failure.
The snake in question is found in northern Argentina, southern Brazil and north-eastern Paraguay. The viper is a common species and snakebites are regularly reported. These snakes possess long solenoglyphous (hollow) fangs that are used to inject venom from glands located towards the rear of the upper jaws, just behind the eyes. The snake’s venom is formed of complex proteins which function to disrupt chemical reactions inside cells.
Positive effects, in terms of neutralization were seen with the mice. Following this observed success, the mice were than examined for the physiological triggers of venom to understand the effects rutin on the pathophysiological events triggered by the venom. This is important because the mechanisms of clinical complications in patients bitten by this species of snake is not well understood.
The research “indicates that rutin has a great potential as an ancillary drug in concert with antivenom therapy to treat snakebites, particularly in countries where antivenom availability is scarce.”
While the effects of neutralizing the toxin has been satisfactorily demonstrated in mice further research will be required to assess the effects with people.
Strangely, the venom itself has a medical use. Due to the particular properties of a peptide found in the venom it has a role in drug development for the treatment of heart failure and hypertension. These are drugs are known as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (or ACE inhibitors).
The research has been published in the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. The research is titled “Rutin (quercetin-3-rutinoside) modulates the hemostatic disturbances and redox imbalance induced by Bothrops jararaca snake venom in mice.”
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