Organ-specific Cytotoxicity of Pitvipers (Crotalinae)

van Thiel, Jory

Institute of Biology Leiden Leiden University Leiden, Netherlands

Snakebite envenomation is designated as a neglected tropical disease. The disease involves multiple pathophysiological effects which often lead to amputations and other loss-of-function injuries or death. In addition to causing suffering, it also causes significant economic and social burdens in developing countries. Many of these effects are caused by cytotoxic snake venoms. Many crotaline [pitviper] species are known to cause irreversible, cytotoxic damage to a variety of organs after envenomation. Many separate studies on this topic have been conducted yet a large overview study is still lacking. This study aims to assess the organ-specific cytotoxicity of the venoms of the crotaline genera Bothrops, Calloselasma, Crotalus, Deinagkistrodon and Trimeresurus. The in vitro cytotoxicity will be accessed after 24 h exposure of primary cells of the kidney, liver, skeletal and heart muscles of the chicken embryo. Cytotoxicity will be quantified using the colorimetric 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-Diphenyltetrazolium Bromide (MTT) assay. The results of this study will contribute to the understanding of the evolutionary selection pressures shaping cytotoxins. They will thereby increase our understanding of the cytotoxic potency of snake venoms.

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