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Snakes and america

José María Gutiérrez
The preclinical evaluation of the neutralizing efficacy of antivenoms is mandatory before a product is introduced for clinical use. The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for antivenoms categorize the tests used in preclinical studies as 'essential assays' (neutralization of lethality) and 'additional recommended assays' (neutralization of other relevant toxic activities). The present review presents an overview of the methodological aspects of antivenom preclinical efficacy tests, and summarizes the studies performed in this subject on antivenoms used in Latin America and the Caribbean...
March 3, 2018: Toxicon: Official Journal of the International Society on Toxinology
Álvaro Segura, María Herrera, Mariángela Vargas, Mauren Villalta, Alfredo Uscanga-Reynell, Guillermo León, José María Gutiérrez
The assessment of the preclinical neutralizing ability of antivenoms in Latin America is necessary to determine their scope of efficacy. This study was aimed at analyzing the neutralizing efficacy of a polyspecific bothropic-crotalic antivenom manufactured by BIRMEX in Mexico against lethal, hemorrhagic, defibrinogenating and in vitro coagulant activities of the venoms of Bothrops jararaca (Brazil), B. atrox (Perú and Colombia), B. diporus (Argentina), B. mattogrossensis (Bolivia), and B. asper (Costa Rica)...
March 2017: Revista de Biología Tropical
Randall S Reiserer, Gordon W Schuett, Harry W Greene
Seed dispersal is a key evolutionary process and a central theme in the population ecology of terrestrial plants. The primary producers of most land-based ecosystems are propagated by and maintained through various mechanisms of seed dispersal that involve both abiotic and biotic modes of transportation. By far the most common biotic seed transport mechanism is zoochory, whereby seeds, or fruits containing them, are dispersed through the activities of animals. Rodents are one group of mammals that commonly prey on seeds (granivores) and play a critical, often destructive, role in primary dispersal and the dynamics of plant communities...
February 14, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Thaís B Guedes, Ricardo J Sawaya, Alexander Zizka, Shawn Laffan, Søren Faurby, R Alexander Pyron, Renato S Bérnils, Martin Jansen, Paulo Passos, Ana L C Prudente, Diego F Cisneros-Heredia, Henrique B Braz, Cristiano de C Nogueira, Alexandre Antonelli, Shai Meiri
Motivation: We generated a novel database of Neotropical snakes (one of the world's richest herpetofauna) combining the most comprehensive, manually compiled distribution dataset with publicly available data. We assess, for the first time, the diversity patterns for all Neotropical snakes as well as sampling density and sampling biases. Main types of variables contained: We compiled three databases of species occurrences: a dataset downloaded from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), a verified dataset built through taxonomic work and specialized literature, and a combined dataset comprising a cleaned version of the GBIF dataset merged with the verified dataset...
January 2018: Global Ecology and Biogeography: a Journal of Macroecology
Daniel Dashevsky, Bryan G Fry
Coral snakes, most notably the genus Micrurus, are the only terrestrial elapid snakes in the Americas. Elapid venoms are generally known for their potent neurotoxicity which is usually caused by Three-Finger Toxin (3FTx) proteins. These toxins can have a wide array of functions that have been characterized from the venom of other elapids. We examined publicly available sequences from Micrurus 3FTx to show that they belong to 8 monophyletic clades that diverged as deep in the 3FTx phylogenetic tree as the other clades with characterized functions...
January 27, 2018: Journal of Molecular Evolution
Melissa A Miller, John M Kinsella, Ray W Snow, Malorie M Hayes, Bryan G Falk, Robert N Reed, Frank J Mazzotti, Craig Guyer, Christina M Romagosa
Identification of the origin of parasites of nonindigenous species (NIS) can be complex. NIS may introduce parasites from their native range and acquire parasites from within their invaded range. Determination of whether parasites are non-native or native can be complicated when parasite genera occur within both the NIS' native range and its introduced range. We explored potential for spillover and spillback of lung parasites infecting Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus) in their invasive range (Florida). We collected 498 indigenous snakes of 26 species and 805 Burmese pythons during 2004-2016 and examined them for lung parasites...
January 2018: Ecology and Evolution
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February 2018: Anesthesiology
Juliana Félix-Silva, Jacyra A S Gomes, Júlia M Fernandes, Angela K C Moura, Yamara A S Menezes, Elizabeth C G Santos, Denise V Tambourgi, Arnóbio A Silva-Junior, Silvana M Zucolotto, Matheus F Fernandes-Pedrosa
ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Jatropha species (Euphorbiaceae) are largely used in traditional medicine to treat different pathologies in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In Northeastern Brazilian folk medicine, several Jatropha species, such as Jatropha gossypiifolia L. and Jatropha mollissima (Pohl) Baill., are indistinctly used to treat snakebites. AIM OF THE STUDY: To compare two of the Brazilian most used Jatropha species for snakebites (J. gossypiifolia and J...
March 1, 2018: Journal of Ethnopharmacology
Paola A Ortiz, Herakles A Garcia, Luciana Lima, Flávia Maia da Silva, Marta Campaner, Carlos L Pereira, Sathaporn Jittapalapong, Luis Neves, Marc Desquesnes, Erney P Camargo, Marta M G Teixeira
Trypanosoma (Herpetosoma) lewisi is a cosmopolitan parasite of rodents strongly linked to the human dispersal of Rattus spp. from Asia to the rest of the world. This species is highly phylogenetically related to trypanosomes from other rodents (T. lewisi-like), and sporadically infects other mammals. T. lewisi may opportunistically infect humans, and has been considered an emergent rat-borne zoonosis associated to poverty. We developed the THeCATL-PCR based on Cathepsin L (CATL) sequences to specifically detect T...
September 4, 2017: Infection, Genetics and Evolution
Cynthia Arroyo, Sergio Solano, Álvaro Segura, María Herrera, Ricardo Estrada, Mauren Villalta, Mariángela Vargas, José María Gutiérrez, Guillermo León
A mixture of the venoms of Bothrops asper, Crotalus simus and Lachesis stenophrys is used as immunogen to produce the polyspecific Central American antivenom (PoliVal-ICP). In this work, we studied the ability of each of these venoms to modulate the antibody response induced by the other two venoms included in the immunization mixture. For that, equine monospecific, bispecific and polyspecific antivenoms were prepared and compared regarding their ability to neutralize the phospholipase A2, coagulant and lethal activities of each venom, and their anti-venom antibodies concentration...
November 2017: Toxicon: Official Journal of the International Society on Toxinology
Kyle A O'Connell, Jeffrey W Streicher, Eric N Smith, Matthew K Fujita
Allopatric divergence following the formation of geographical features has been implicated as a major driver of evolutionary diversification. Widespread species complexes provide opportunities to examine allopatric divergence across varying degrees of isolation in both time and space. In North America, several geographical features may play such a role in diversification, including the Mississippi River, Pecos River, Rocky Mountains, Cochise Filter Barrier, Gulf of California and Isthmus of Tehuantepec. We used thousands of nuclear single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and mitochondrial DNA from several species of whipsnakes (genera Masticophis and Coluber) distributed across North and Central America to investigate the role that these geographical features have played on lineage divergence...
October 2017: Molecular Ecology
Daryl C Yang, James Dobson, Chip Cochran, Daniel Dashevsky, Kevin Arbuckle, Melisa Benard, Leslie Boyer, Alejandro Alagón, Iwan Hendrikx, Wayne C Hodgson, Bryan G Fry
Coral snake envenomations are well characterized to be lethally neurotoxic. Despite this, few multispecies, neurotoxicity and antivenom efficacy comparisons have been undertaken and only for the Micrurus genus; Micruroides has remained entirely uninvestigated. As the USA's supplier of antivenom has currently stopped production, alternative sources need to be explored. The Mexican manufacturer Bioclon uses species genetically related to USA species, thus we investigated the efficacy against Micrurus fulvius (eastern coral snake), the main species responsible for lethal envenomations in the USA as well as additional species from the Americas...
October 2017: Neurotoxicity Research
Jean-Philippe Chippaux
BACKGROUND: Better knowledge of the epidemiological characteristics of snakebites could help to take measures to improve their management. The incidence and mortality of snakebites in the Americas are most often estimated from medical and scientific literature, which generally lack precision and representativeness. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Authors used the notifications of snakebites treated in health centers collected by the Ministries of Health of the American countries to estimate their incidence and mortality...
June 2017: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Lydia H V Franklinos, Jeffrey M Lorch, Elizabeth Bohuski, Julia Rodriguez-Ramos Fernandez, Owen N Wright, Liam Fitzpatrick, Silviu Petrovan, Chris Durrant, Chris Linton, Vojtech Baláž, Andrew A Cunningham, Becki Lawson
Snake fungal disease (SFD) is an emerging disease of conservation concern in eastern North America. Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, the causative agent of SFD, has been isolated from over 30 species of wild snakes from six families in North America. Whilst O. ophiodiicola has been isolated from captive snakes outside North America, the pathogen has not been reported from wild snakes elsewhere. We screened 33 carcasses and 303 moulted skins from wild snakes collected from 2010-2016 in Great Britain and the Czech Republic for the presence of macroscopic skin lesions and O...
June 19, 2017: Scientific Reports
Cícera Maria Gomes, Karen de Morais-Zani, Stephen Lu, Diego de Souza Buarque, Glória Regina Cardoso Braz, Kathleen Fernandes Grego, Aparecida Sadae Tanaka, Anita Mitico Tanaka-Azevedo
BACKGROUND: Snakes belonging to the Bothrops genus are vastly distributed in Central and South America and are responsible for most cases of reported snake bites in Latin America. The clinical manifestations of the envenomation caused by this genus are due to three major activities-proteolytic, hemorrhagic and coagulant-mediated by metalloproteinases, serine proteinases, phospholipases A2 and other toxic compounds present in snake venom. Interestingly, it was observed that snakes are resistant to the toxic effects of its own and other snake's venoms...
2017: PeerJ
Timothy B Erickson, Navneet Cheema
Arthropods (phylum Arthopoda) account for a higher percentage of morbidity and mortality to humans than do mammalian bites, snake bites, or marine envenomation. They are ubiquitous in domestic dwellings, caves, and campsites and in wilderness settings such as deserts, forests, and lakes. Although arthropods are most intrusive during warmer months, many are active throughout the winter, particularly indoors. Arthropods are also nocturnal and often bite unsuspecting victims while they are sleeping. Encounters with humans are generally defensive, accidental, or reactive...
May 2017: Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America
Sara María Vélez, Marcos Salazar, Hildaura Acosta de Patiño, Leandra Gómez, Abdiel Rodriguez, David Correa, Julio Saldaña, Deyvi Navarro, Bruno Lomonte, Rafael Otero-Patiño, José María Gutiérrez
Bothrops asper is the medically most important venomous snake in Central America. In Panama, the country having the highest incidence of snakebites in Latin America, B. asper is widely distributed throughout the country and is responsible for the vast majority of snakebites. This study was performed to analyze whether there are variations in the toxicological profile and in some biochemical parameters between the venoms of B. asper from four different regions in Panama. The venoms showed a similar profile of lethal, hemorrhagic, in vitro coagulant, defibrinogenating, edema-forming, myotoxic and indirect hemolytic activities, with subtle quantitative variations between samples of some regions...
June 15, 2017: Toxicon: Official Journal of the International Society on Toxinology
Michael T J Hague, Chris R Feldman, Edmund D Brodie, Edmund D Brodie
Convergent phenotypes often result from similar underlying genetics, but recent work suggests convergence may also occur in the historical order of substitutions en route to an adaptive outcome. We characterized convergence in the mutational steps to two independent outcomes of tetrodotoxin (TTX) resistance in separate geographic lineages of the common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) that coevolved with toxic newts. Resistance is largely conferred by amino acid changes in the skeletal muscle sodium channel (NaV 1...
June 2017: Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution
Chuchu Zhang, Katalin F Medzihradszky, Elda E Sánchez, Allan I Basbaum, David Julius
Pain-producing animal venoms contain evolutionarily honed toxins that can be exploited to study and manipulate somatosensory and nociceptive signaling pathways. From a functional screen, we have identified a secreted phospholipase A2 (sPLA2)-like protein, BomoTx, from the Brazilian lancehead pit viper (Bothrops moojeni). BomoTx is closely related to a group of Lys49 myotoxins that have been shown to promote ATP release from myotubes through an unknown mechanism. Here we show that BomoTx excites a cohort of sensory neurons via ATP release and consequent activation of P2X2 and/or P2X3 purinergic receptors...
March 21, 2017: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Izabela K Ragan, Emily L Blizzard, Paul Gordy, Richard A Bowen
The recent emergence of the mosquito-borne Zika virus (ZIKV) in the Americas has become a global public health concern. We describe a series of experimental infections designed to investigate whether animals within certain taxonomic groups in North America have the potential to serve as ZIKV amplifying or maintenance hosts. Species investigated included armadillos, cottontail rabbits, goats, mink, chickens, pigeons, ground hogs, deer mice, cattle, raccoons, ducks, Syrian Golden hamsters, garter snakes, leopard frogs, house sparrows, and pigs...
March 2017: Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
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