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Toxins 2016, 8(4), 93; doi:10.3390/toxins8040093

Hemorrhage Caused by Snake Venom Metalloproteinases: A Journey of Discovery and Understanding

1
Instituto Clodomiro Picado, Facultad de Microbiología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José 11501-2060, Costa Rica
2
Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José 11501-2060, Costa Rica
Dedicated to the memory of Akira Ohsaka for his pioneer contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms by which snake venoms induce hemorrhage.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Bryan Grieg Fry
Received: 7 March 2016 / Revised: 15 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 March 2016 / Published: 26 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Snake Venom Metalloproteinases)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1929 KB, uploaded 26 March 2016]   |  

Abstract

The historical development of discoveries and conceptual frames for understanding the hemorrhagic activity induced by viperid snake venoms and by hemorrhagic metalloproteinases (SVMPs) present in these venoms is reviewed. Histological and ultrastructural tools allowed the identification of the capillary network as the main site of action of SVMPs. After years of debate, biochemical developments demonstrated that all hemorrhagic toxins in viperid venoms are zinc-dependent metalloproteinases. Hemorrhagic SVMPs act by initially hydrolyzing key substrates at the basement membrane (BM) of capillaries. This degradation results in the weakening of the mechanical stability of the capillary wall, which becomes distended owing of the action of the hemodynamic biophysical forces operating in the circulation. As a consequence, the capillary wall is disrupted and extravasation occurs. SVMPs do not induce rapid toxicity to endothelial cells, and the pathological effects described in these cells in vivo result from the mechanical action of these hemodynamic forces. Experimental evidence suggests that degradation of type IV collagen, and perhaps also perlecan, is the key event in the onset of microvessel damage. It is necessary to study this phenomenon from a holistic, systemic perspective in which the action of other venom components is also taken into consideration. View Full-Text
Keywords: snake venom; viperids; metalloproteinases; hemorrhage; capillary vessels; basement membrane; type IV collagen snake venom; viperids; metalloproteinases; hemorrhage; capillary vessels; basement membrane; type IV collagen
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Gutiérrez, J.M.; Escalante, T.; Rucavado, A.; Herrera, C. Hemorrhage Caused by Snake Venom Metalloproteinases: A Journey of Discovery and Understanding. Toxins 2016, 8, 93.

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