The effects of selected Australian snake venoms on tumour-associated microvascular endothelial cells (TAMECs) in vitro

Research Article

J Venom Res 
(2013), Vol 4, 21-30

Published online: 19 October 2013

Full Text (PDF ~ 1052kb) (HTML PMC3812074) (PubMed)

Emma Bateman 1*, Michael Venning 1, Peter Mirtschin 2 and Anthony Woods 1

Sansom Institute, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, City East Campus, University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, South Australia 5001

Venom Supplies, PO Box 547, Tanunda, South Australia 5352

*Present address: Mucositis Research Group, Centre for Personalised Cancer Medicine (CPCM), Centre for Clinical Research Excellence (CCRE) in Oral Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide, Frome Road, Adelaide SA 5005, Australia

*Correspondence to: Emma Bateman, Email:, Tel: +61 88222 3547, Fax: +61 88222 3217

Received: 12 August 2013, Revised: 14 October 2013, Accepted: 18 October 2013

© Copyright The Authors


The effects of various viperid and elapid venoms on the cellular biology of tumour-associated microvascular endothelial cells (TAMECs) were determined in the current study using cells isolated from a rat mammary adenocarcinoma. Previous studies to determine the effects of snake venoms on endothelial cells in vitro have in the main been performed on either human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs) or endothelial cell lines. These cell populations are accessible and easy to maintain in culture, however, it is well established that endothelial cells display vast heterogeneity depending upon the local microenvironment of the tissue from which they are isolated. Vascular targeting agents have been isolated from a variety of snake venoms, particularly from snakes of the Viperidae family, but it is yet to be established to what extent the venoms from Australian elapids possess similar vascular targeting properties. The present study used endothelial cells (ECs) isolated from the microvasculature of a rat mammary adenocarcinoma to determine the effects of a panel of snake venoms, including viperid venoms with known apoptotic activity and elapid venoms (both exotic and indigenous to Australia), on endothelial morphology and viability, paying specific attention to apoptotic responses. Three of the five Australian snake venoms investigated in this study elicited significant apoptotic responses in ECs which were in many ways similar to responses elicited by the selected viperid venoms. This suggests that these Australian elapids may possess vascular targeting components similar to those found within viperid venoms.

KEYWORDS: Tumour-associated endothelial cells, snake venom, endothelial apoptosis, Australian elapids, anti-angiogenesis