Iron and carbon monoxide prevent degradation of plasmatic coagulation by thrombin-like activity in rattlesnake venom

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8 Scopus citations


Thousands suffer poisonous snake bite, often from defibrinogenating species annually. Three rattlesnake species in particular, the timber rattlesnake, Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, and Southern Pacific rattlesnake, cause clinically relevant hypofibrinogenemia via thrombin-like activity in their venom. It has been demonstrated that iron (Fe) and carbon monoxide (CO) change the ultrastructure of plasma thrombi and improve coagulation kinetics. Thus, the present investigation sought to determine if pretreatment of plasma with Fe and CO could attenuate venom-mediated catalysis of fibrinogen via thrombin-like activity. Human plasma was pretreated with ferric chloride (0-10 μM) and CO-releasing molecule-2 (0-100 μM) prior to exposure to 2.5-10 μg/ml of venom obtained from the aforementioned three species of rattlesnake. Coagulation kinetics were determined with thrombelastography. All three snake venoms degraded plasmatic coagulation kinetics to a significant extent, especially diminishing the speed of clot growth and strength. Pretreatment of plasma with Fe and CO completely abrogated the effects of all three venoms on coagulation kinetics. Further in vitro investigation of other pit viper venoms that possess thrombin-like activity is indicated to see if there is significant conservation of venom enzymatic target recognition of specific amino acid sequences such that Fe and CO can reliably attenuate venom-mediated catalysis of fibrinogen. These data also serve as a rationale for future preclinical investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1116-1122
Number of pages7
JournalHuman and Experimental Toxicology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Snake venom
  • carbon monoxide
  • fibrinogen
  • iron
  • thrombelastography
  • thrombin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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