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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2005 Mar;100 Suppl 1:181-4. Epub 2005 Jun 14.

Inflammatory effects of snake venom metalloproteinases.

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  • 1Laboratório de Farmacologia, Instituto Butantan, São Paulo, SP 05503-900, Brasil.


Metalloproteinases are abundant enzymes in crotaline and viperine snake venoms. They are relevant in the pathophysiology of envenomation, being responsible for local and systemic hemorrhage frequently observed in the victims. Snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMP) are zinc-dependent enzymes of varying molecular weights having multidomain organization. Some SVMP comprise only the proteinase domain, whereas others also contain a disintegrin-like domain, cysteine-rich, and lectin domains. They have strong structural similarities with both mammalian matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and members of ADAMs (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase) group. Besides hemorrhage, snake venom metalloproteinase induce local myonecrosis, skin damage, and inflammatory reaction in experimental models. Local inflammation is an important characteristic of snakebite envenomations inflicted by viperine and crotaline snake species. Thus, in the recent years there is a growing effort to understand the mechanisms responsible for SVMP-induced inflammatory reaction and the structural determinants of this effect. This short review focuses the inflammatory effects evoked by SVMP.

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