An in vitro study of the effects of venom of Australian elapids on murine skeletal muscle and the protective effect of homologous plasma

T. L. Butler, P. F. Jacobsen, P. J. Mirtschin, B. A. Kakulas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The venom of many dangerous Australian snakes has a myotoxic component and some are strongly myolytic. The myotoxicity of venom of seven Australian elapid snakes was studied to determine their relative in vitro potency in causing cell death of C2C12 cells, a myoblast cell line, and murine myotubes in mixed cell culture. The venom of Pseudechis australis proved to be the most myotoxic, Austrelaps superbus and Pseudechis poryhyriacus venoms also exhibited high myotoxicity relative to the other venoms tested. The specificity of Pseudechis porphyriacus venom was tested using the human glioma cell line TC3 and was shown to exhibit a general cytotoxicity. Myotoxicity, however, was the predominant action of the venom. It has long been known that certain animals such as the mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii) are able to survive envenomation. Some species of snakes also possess this property and the neutralising factor(s) responsible for this in P. porphyriacus has been shown to be present in the serum. The protective effect of homologous plasma from P. porphyriacus venom was also studied with reference to myotoxicity and cytotoxicity. The results of this study clearly demonstrated protection by homologous plasma using a myoblast cell line, C2C12, a primary mixed cell culture and TC3 cells. While protection was clear, particularly using high concentrations of venon, it was not absolute, and homologous plasma did not afford continued protection from the effects of the venom. In the mixed cell culture experiments venom/plasma mixtures pre-incubated for 30 min were more protective than venom/plasma mixtures which were not pre-incubated, in contrast to the results of cell culture studies, which showed little difference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-50
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Venomous Animals and Toxins
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

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