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Crit Rev Toxicol. 1999 Jan;29(1):1-19.

Snake venom hemorrhagins.

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Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Jadavpur, Calcutta.


Viperine and crotaline snake venoms contain one or more hemorrhagic principles called hemorrhagins. These are zinc-containing metalloproteases characterized by the presence of a protease domain, with additional domains in some of them. They act essentially by degrading the component proteins of basement membrane underlying capillary endothelial cells. The toxins also act on these cells causing lysis or drifting apart, resulting in hemorrhage per rhexis or per diapedesis. Some of these toxins have been found to exert additional effects such as fibrinogenolysis and platelet aggregation that facilitate hemorrhage. The structural and functional features of this class of toxins have been discussed in this review in an attempt to get a better understanding of their toxicity. This can be of immense therapeutic value in the management of snake venom poisoning, as hemorrhagins are among the major lethal factors in snake venom.

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