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Hemostatic Interference of Indian King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) Venom. Comparison with Three Other Snake Venoms of the Subcontinent

Yashonandana J. Gowtham1, M. S. Kumar1,2, K. S. Girish1, and K. Kemparaju1*

1Department of Studies in Biochemistry, University of Mysore, Manasagangothri, Mysore 570006, Karnataka, India; E-mail: kemparaj@rediffmail.com

2Department of Biochemistry, Government College for Women, Mandya, Karnataka, India

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received December 23, 2011; Revision received February 13, 2012
Unlike Naja naja, Bungarus caeruleus, Echis carinatus, and Daboia/Vipera russellii venoms, Ophiophagus hannah venom is medically ignored in the Indian subcontinent. Being the biggest poisonous snake, O. hannah has been presumed to inject several lethal doses of venom in a single bite. Lack of therapeutic antivenom to O. hannah bite in India makes any attempt to save the victim a difficult exercise. This study was initiated to compare O. hannah venom with the above said venoms for possible interference in hemostasis. Ophiophagus hannah venom was found to actively interfere in hemostatic stages such as fibrin clot formation, platelet activation/aggregation, and fibrin clot dissolution. It decreased partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), prothrombin time (PT), and thrombin clotting time (TCT). These activities are similar to that shown by E. carinatus and D. russellii venoms, and thus O. hannah venom was found to exert procoagulant activity through the common pathway of blood coagulation, while N. naja venom increased aPTT and TCT but not PT, and hence it was found to exert anticoagulant activity through the intrinsic pathway. Venoms of O. hannah, E. carinatus, and D. russellii lack plasminogen activation property as they do not hydrolyze azocasein, while they all show plasmin-like activity by degrading the fibrin clot. Although N. naja venom did not degrade azocasein, unlike other venoms, it showed feeble plasmin-like activity on fibrin clot. Venom of E. carinatus induced clotting of human platelet rich plasma (PRP), while the other three venoms interfered in agonist-induced platelet aggregation in PRP. Venom of O. hannah least inhibited the ADP induced platelet aggregation as compared to D. russellii and N. naja venoms. All these three venoms showed complete inhibition of epinephrine-induced aggregation at varied doses. However, O. hannah venom was unique in inhibiting thrombin induced aggregation.
KEY WORDS: O. hannah, D. russellii, E. carinatus, N. naja, fibri(noge)nolytic, defibrinogenation, platelet aggregation

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297912060119