Antivenomics of Atropoides mexicanus and Atropoides picadoi snake venoms: Relationship to the neutralization of toxic and enzymatic activities

Research Article

J Venom Res (2010), Vol 1, 8-17

Published online: 30 September 2010

Full Text: (PDF ~590kb) | (PubMed Central Record HTML)

José Antúnez †, Julián Fernández †, Bruno Lomonte †, Yamileth Angulo †, Libia Sanz †, Alicia Pérez ‡, Juan José Calvete ‡, José María Gutiérrez †*

† Instituto Clodomiro Picado, Facultad de Microbiología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica

‡ Instituto de Biomedicina de Valencia, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Jaume Roig 11, 46010 Valencia, Spain

*Correspondence to: José María Gutiérrez, Email:, Tel: +506 2229 3135, Fax: +506 2292 0485

Received: 14 July 2010, Revised: 16 August 2010, Accepted: 20 August 2010

© Copyright The Authors


Viperid snakes of the genus Atropoides are distributed in Mexico and Central America and, owing to their size and venom yield, are capable of provoking severe envenomings in humans. This study evaluated, using an ‘antivenomics’ approach, the ability of a polyspecific (polyvalent) antivenom manufactured in Costa Rica to recognize the proteins of Atropoides mexicanus and A. picadoivenoms, which are not included in the immunization mixture. In addition, the neutralization of lethal, hemorrhagic, myotoxic, coagulant, proteinase and phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activities of these venoms by the antivenom was assessed. The antivenom was highly-effective in immunodepleting many venom components, particularly high molecular mass P-III metalloproteinases (SVMPs), L-amino acid oxidases, and some serine proteinases and P-I SVMPs. In contrast, PLA2s certain serine proteinases and P-I SVMPs, and a C type lectin-like protein were only partially immunodepleted, and two PLA2 molecules were not depleted at all. The antivenom was able to neutralize all toxic and enzymatic activities tested, although neutralization of lethality by A. nummifer venom was achieved when a challenge dose of 3 LD50s of venom was used, but was iffective when 4 LD50s were used. These results, and previously obtained evidence on the immunoreactivity of this antivenom towards homologous and heterologous venoms, revealed the low immunogenicity of a number of venom components (PLA2s, CRISPs, P-I SVMPs, and some serine proteinases), underscoring the need to search for innovative immunization protocols to improve the immune response to these antigens.

KEYWORDS: Atropoides picadoi, Atropoides mexicanus, antivenomics, antivenom, neutralization, toxicity, immunodepletion, snake venom