Publications by authors named "Maria de Fatima Furtado"

9 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Maintenance of venomous snakes in captivity for venom production at Butantan Institute from 1908 to the present: a scoping history.

J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis 2021 22;27:e20200068. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Laboratory of Herpetology, Butantan Institute, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Maintenance of snakes at Butantan Institute started in the last century, intending to produce a different antivenom serum to reduce death caused by snakebites. Through a successful campaign coordinated by Vital Brazil, farmers sent venomous snakes to Butantan Institute by the railway lines with no cost. From 1908 to 1962, the snakes were kept in an outdoor serpentarium, where venom extraction was performed every 15 days. During this period, the snake average survival was 15 days. In 1963, the snakes were transferred to an adapted building, currently called Laboratory of Herpetology (LH), to be maintained in an intensive system. Although the periodicity of venom extraction remained the same, animal average survival increased to two months. With the severe serum crisis in 1983, the Ministry of Health financed remodeling for the three public antivenom producers, and with this support, the LH could be improved. Air conditioning and exhausting systems were installed in the rooms, besides the settlement of critical hygienic-sanitary managements to increase the welfare of snakes. In the early 1990s, snake survival was ten months. Over the years to the present day, several improvements have been made in the intensive serpentarium, as the establishment of two quarantines, feeding with thawed rodents, an interval of two months between venom extraction routines, and monitoring of snake health through laboratory tests. With these new protocols, average snake survival increased significantly, being eight years for the genus , ten years for genus and and four years for the genus . Aiming the production of venoms of good quality, respect for good management practices is essential for the maintenance of snakes in captivity. New techniques and efficient management must always be sought to improve animal welfare, the quality of the venom produced, and the safety of those working directly with the venomous snakes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1678-9199-JVATITD-2020-0068DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7856910PMC
January 2021

Venomics profiling of Thamnodynastes strigatus unveils matrix metalloproteinases and other novel proteins recruited to the toxin arsenal of rear-fanged snakes.

J Proteome Res 2012 Feb 20;11(2):1152-62. Epub 2012 Jan 20.

Centro de Biotecnologia, Instituto Butantan, Av. Vital Brazil, 1500, São Paulo, SP, 05503-900, Brazil.

Rear-fanged and aglyphous snakes are usually considered not dangerous to humans because of their limited capacity of injecting venom. Therefore, only a few studies have been dedicated to characterizing the venom of the largest parcel of snake fauna. Here, we investigated the venom proteome of the rear-fanged snake Thamnodynastes strigatus , in combination with a transcriptomic evaluation of the venom gland. About 60% of all transcripts code for putative venom components. A striking finding is that the most abundant type of transcript (∼47%) and also the major protein type in the venom correspond to a new kind of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) that is unrelated to the classical snake venom metalloproteinases found in all snake families. These enzymes were recently suggested as possible venom components, and we show here that they are proteolytically active and probably recruited to venom from a MMP-9 ancestor. Other unusual proteins were suggested to be venom components: a protein related to lactadherin and an EGF repeat-containing transcript. Despite these unusual molecules, seven toxin classes commonly found in typical venomous snakes are also present in the venom. These results support the evidence that the arsenals of these snakes are very diverse and harbor new types of biologically important molecules.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/pr200876cDOI Listing
February 2012

Human complement activation and anaphylatoxins generation induced by snake venom toxins from Bothrops genus.

Mol Immunol 2010 Oct 31;47(16):2537-44. Epub 2010 Jul 31.

Immunochemistry Laboratory, Butantan Institute, Av. Prof. Vital Brazil, 1500, CEP 05503-900, São Paulo, Brazil.

Snake venoms are a complex mixture of components, which have a wide range of actions both on prey and human victims. The genus Bothrops causes the vast majority of snakebites in Central and South America, being responsible for 80% of snake envenomations in Brazil. Envenomations are characterized by prominent local effects, including oedema, haemorrhage and necrosis, which can lead to permanent disability. Systemic manifestations such as haemorrhage, coagulopathy, shock and acute renal failure may also occur. In the present study we have investigated the action of venoms from 19 species of snakes from the genus Bothrops, occurring in Brazil, on the complement system in in vitro studies. All venoms were able to activate the classical complement pathway, in the absence of sensitizing antibody. This activation was in part associated with the cleavage of C1-Inhibitor by proteases present in these venoms, which disrupts complement activation control. No modification of the membrane bound complement regulators, such as DAF, CR1 and CD59 was detected, after treatment of human erythrocytes with the snake venoms. Some of the Bothrops venoms were also able to activate alternative and lectin pathways, as measured in haemolytic and ELISA assays. C3a, C4a and C5a were generated in sera treated with the venoms, not only through C-activation, but also by the direct cleavage of complement components, as determined using purified C3 and C4. Metallo- and/or serine-protease inhibitors prevented cleavage of C3 and C4. These results suggest that Bothrops venoms can activate the complement system, generating a large amount of anaphylatoxins, which may play an important role in the inflammatory process presented in humans after snake envenomations, and they may also assist, due to their vasodilatory effects, to enhance the spreading of other venom components.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molimm.2010.07.003DOI Listing
October 2010

Diversity of Micrurus snake species related to their venom toxic effects and the prospective of antivenom neutralization.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2010 Mar 9;4(3):e622. Epub 2010 Mar 9.

Immunochemistry Laboratory, Butantan Institute, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Background: Micrurus snake bites can cause death by muscle paralysis and respiratory arrest, few hours after envenomation. The specific treatment for coral snake envenomation is the intravenous application of heterologous antivenom and, in Brazil, it is produced by horse immunization with a mixture of M. corallinus and M. frontalis venoms, snakes that inhabit the South and Southeastern regions of the country. However, this antivenom might be inefficient, considering the existence of intra- and inter-specific variations in the composition of the venoms. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the toxic properties of venoms from nine species of Micrurus: eight present in different geographic regions of Brazil (M. frontalis, M. corallinus, M. hemprichii, M. spixii, M. altirostris, M. surinamensis, M. ibiboboca, M. lemniscatus) and one (M. fulvius) with large distribution in Southeastern United States and Mexico. This study also analyzed the antigenic cross-reactivity and the neutralizing potential of the Brazilian coral snake antivenom against these Micrurus venoms.

Methodology/principal Findings: Analysis of protein composition and toxicity revealed a large diversity of venoms from the nine Micrurus species. ELISA and Western blot assays showed a varied capability of the therapeutic antivenom to recognize the diverse species venom components. In vivo and in vitro neutralization assays indicated that the antivenom is not able to fully neutralize the toxic activities of all venoms.

Conclusion: These results indicate the existence of a large range of both qualitative and quantitative variations in Micrurus venoms, probably reflecting the adaptation of the snakes from this genus to vastly dissimilar habitats. The data also show that the antivenom used for human therapy in Brazil is not fully able to neutralize the main toxic activities present in the venoms from all Micrurus species occurring in the country. It suggests that modifications in the immunization scheme, with the inclusion of other venoms in the antigenic mixture, should occur in order to generate effective therapeutic coral snake antivenom.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0000622DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2834742PMC
March 2010

Antigenic cross-reactivity and immunogenicity of Bothrops venoms from snakes of the Amazon region.

Toxicon 2010 Apr 29;55(4):881-7. Epub 2009 Dec 29.

Herpetology Laboratories, Butantan Institute, Av. Prof. Vital Brazil, 1500, CEP 05503-000 São Paulo, Brazil.

Snakebites are still a critical public health problem in developing countries or isolated areas. In Brazil, the North Region has a high distribution coefficient worsened by the significant number of eventually unreported cases, due to difficulties in access to health services, to the natural geographic barriers and the vast territory. In the Rio Negro area, the species Bothrops atrox, Bothrops brazili, Lachesis muta muta and Bothriopsis taeniata are thought to be the major species responsible for snakebites. The aim of this study was to qualitatively and quantitatively determine the antigenic cross-reactivity and expression of toxins and the immunogenicity of Bothrops venom species of the Amazon and to evaluate the general efficacy of the therapeutic sera. The in vivo assays demonstrated that the defibrinating activity of B. taeniata venom was absent but that the lethal and hemorrhagic properties were more intense than in the B. atrox venom. The results evidence venom variability among the two B. atrox populations from two distinct Amazonian regions, which may reveal a subjacent speciation process. The results point to new aspects that may guide the improvement of anti-Bothropic therapeutic serum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.toxicon.2009.12.014DOI Listing
April 2010

Interspecific variation in venom composition and toxicity of Brazilian snakes from Bothrops genus.

Toxicon 2008 Dec 17;52(8):842-51. Epub 2008 Oct 17.

Immunochemistry Laboratory, Butantan Institute, Av. Prof. Vital Brazil, 1500, CEP 05503-900, São Paulo, Brazil.

The genus Bothrops spp. is responsible for 90% of envenomation by snakes in Brazil, and the standard treatment for snakebites is the antivenom therapy. The anti-bothropic serum produced by Butantan Institute is prepared by the hyperimmunization of horses with a pool of venoms from Bothrops alternatus, Bothrops jararaca, Bothrops jararacussu, Bothrops moojeni and Bothrops neuwiedi. In this study, the biochemical and biological characteristics of the venoms from nineteen snakes of the genus Bothrops, responsible for human accidents in Brazil, were analysed. Venoms, particularly from Crotalidae and Viperidae snakes, are rich sources of serine proteases and metalloproteases and the ability of the Brazilian anti-bothropic serum to neutralize the proteolytic activity of these venoms were also tested. The results obtained here show the existence of a large range of variation in the composition and activities in Bothrops spp. toxins and demonstrate that the anti-bothropic serum is not able to fully neutralize the toxic activities of all analysed venoms. These suggest that for the preparation of a fully effective therapeutic anti-bothropic serum, other venoms should be included in the immunization mixture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.toxicon.2008.10.002DOI Listing
December 2008

Neurotoxicity of Micrurus altirostris (Uruguayan coral snake) venom and its neutralization by commercial coral snake antivenom and specific antiserum raised in rabbits.

Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2008 Jul;46(6):519-27

Faculdade de Ciencias Medicas, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Departamento de Farmacologia, Campinas, Brazil.

In this work, we studied the neuromuscular blockade caused by Micrurus altirostris venom (0.1-10 microg/mL) in indirect stimulated chick biventer cervicis and mouse phrenic nerve-diaphragm preparations and the ability of commercial antivenom (Instituto Butantan) and antiserum raised in rabbits to neutralize neurotoxicity and lethality in chicks and mice (LD(50) 0.042 and 0.255 mg/kg), injected i.m. and i.p., respectively, with venom (5 LD(50)):antivenom or antiserum mixtures (n = 6) of 1:1-1:2.5-1:5-1:10-1:20. The venom caused a complete and irreversible neuromuscular blockade in both preparations, inhibited the acetylcholine and carbachol contractures, without interfering on KCl response. The neuromuscular blockade was not Ca(2+) or temperature-dependent and did not affect the response to direct stimulation. Only a venom:antivenom or antiserum ratio of 1:20 neutralized the neuromuscular blockade in vitro and protected chicks and mice against 5 LD(50) of venom. Our results indicated that Micrurus altirostris venom interferes with postsynaptic neurotransmission and that commercial antivenom and rabbit antiserum have low efficacy in neutralizing the neurotoxicity and lethality of this venom.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15563650701647405DOI Listing
July 2008

Neuromuscular and phospholipase activities of venoms from three subspecies of Bothrops neuwiedi (B. n. goyazensis, B. n. paranaensis and B. n. diporus).

Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol 2007 Sep 6;148(1):142-9. Epub 2007 Apr 6.

Departamento de Farmacologia, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, CP 6111, 13083-970, Campinas, SP, Brazil.

The Bothrops neuwiedi (Neuwied's lancehead) species complex consists of a variety of subspecies with a wide distribution in South America. In this work, we compared the neuromuscular blockade caused by venoms from three subspecies (B. n. goyazensis, B. n. paranaensis and B. n. diporus) of this complex using chick biventer cervicis (BC) and mouse phrenic nerve-diaphragm (PND) preparations and investigated their phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activities and electrophoretic profiles. The order of potency of PLA2 activity was B. n. diporus>B. n. paranaensis>B. n. goyazensis. In BC preparations, B. n. goyazensis venom (50 microg/mL) was significantly (p<0.05) more active than B. n. paranaensis and B. n. diporus venoms, which did not produce a significant blockade at this time interval; after 120 min, B. n. goyazensis, B. n. paranaensis and B. n. diporus venoms (100 microg/mL) produced blockades of 57.4+/-5%, 30+/-3% and 17.4+/-7% (n=3-6 each), respectively. The three venoms inhibited contractures in response to ACh, indicating interference with postsynaptic neurotransmission. Only B. n. goyazensis and B. n. paranaensis venoms caused a long-lasting, concentration-dependent muscle contracture prior to blockade. In PND preparations, all of the venoms blocked the twitch-tension responses within 45-100 min, indicating that these preparations were more sensitive than avian preparations. There was a correlation between PLA2 activity and the time for 50% blockade in PND but not in BC preparations. SDS-PAGE showed quantitative rather than qualitative differences among the venoms. These results indicate that the venoms of the three subspecies had similar profiles of neuromuscular activity, although the relationship with PLA2 activity varied with the preparation used.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpa.2007.03.030DOI Listing
September 2007

Duvernoy's gland secretion of Philodryas olfersii and Philodryas patagoniensis (Colubridae): neutralization of local and systemic effects by commercial bothropic antivenom (Bothrops genus).

Toxicon 2006 Jan 20;47(1):95-103. Epub 2005 Dec 20.

Laboratório de Herpetologia, Instituto Butantan, Av. Prof. Vital Brazil, 1500, CEP 05508-900, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

Colubrids involved in human envenomation in Brazil are mainly from the genera Helicops, Oxyrhopus, Thamnodynastes and Philodryas. There is a relatively large number of clinical descriptions involving the Xenodontinae snakes, Philodryas olfersii and Philodryas patagoniensis, in human accidents. The most common manifestations of envenomation are local pain, swelling, erythema and ecchymosis and regional lymphadenopathy with normal coagulation. The aims of this study were to characterize the biochemical and biological properties of P. olfersii and P. patagoniensis venoms, and to investigate their immunological cross-reactivities by using both specific antisera and anti-Bothrops sp serum used for human serum therapy in Brazil, in neutralizing the lethal and hemorrhagic effects of these venoms. We show here that P. olfersii e P. patagoniensis venoms present proteolytic and haemorrhagic activities but are devoid of phospholipase A2 activity. Haemorrhage and lethality induced by P. olfersii and P. patagoniensis are associated with metal-dependent proteinases, since EDTA could block these toxic activities. P. olfersii and P. patagoniensis venoms were immunogenic and the antisera produced were able to recognize several bands in P. olfersii, P. patagoniensis venoms in Bothrops jararaca venom.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.toxicon.2005.10.005DOI Listing
January 2006