Investigating the beneficial properties of Agkistrodon halys venom (from the Siberian pit viper)

Researchers at Wanan Medical College in China investigated the effects of an extract from Agkistrodon halys (Siberian pit viper) venom on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced myocardial injury. They reported their findings in an article published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

  • Snake venom is known to contain plenty of bioactive compounds that could potentially have therapeutic effects.
  • To explore the beneficial properties of A. halys venom, the researchers used 30 male rats randomly assigned into three groups.
  • Rats in the control group and the LPS group were given intravenous injections of a sterile saline solution, while rats in the LPS + extract group were injected with the venom extract.
  • After two hours, the control rats received intraperitoneal injections of the same sterile saline solution, while the rats in the remaining groups were treated with 20 mg/kg body weight LPS.
  • The researchers then determined the rats’ serum creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels.
  • They also evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of the venom extract by looking at their serum TNF-a and IL-6 levels, as well as the expression of TNF-a, IL-6, COX-2 and p-ERK protein in the animals’ hearts.
  • Meanwhile, the extract’s antioxidant properties were assessed by quantifying heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and p-NF-kB protein expression in the animals’ hearts, as well as serum superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels.
  • The researchers found that pretreatment with the A. halys venom extract significantly decreased serum CK and LDH levels, reduced inflammatory cytokine production and decreased serum MDA levels in the LPS + extract group.
  • The venom extract also increased serum SOD activity and HO-1 protein expression in the heart while decreasing TNF-a, IL-6, COX-2, p-NF-kB and p-ERK1/2 protein expression.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that A. halys venom has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate LPS-induced myocardial injury.

Read the full study at this link.

Journal Reference:

Wang Q-H, Li W, Jiang YX, Lu XH, Wang GG. THE EXTRACT FROM AGKISTRODON HALYS VENOM PROTECTS AGAINST LIPOPOLYSACCHARIDE (LPS)-INDUCED MYOCARDIAL INJURY. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 17 July 2019;19(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-019-2595-4