Snake venom proteins that affect the haemostatic system can cause (a) lowering of blood coagulability, (b) damage to blood vessels, resulting in bleeding, (c) secondary effects of bleeding, e.g. hypovolaemic shock and organ damage, and (d) thrombosis. These proteins may, or may not, be enzymes. We review the data on the most relevant haemostatically active proteinases, phospholipases A₂, L-amino acid oxidases and 5'-nucleotidases from snake venoms. We also survey the non-enzymatic effectors of haemostasis from snake venoms--disintegrins, C-type lectins and three-finger toxins. Medical applications have already been found for some of these snake venom proteins. We describe those that have already been approved as drugs to treat haemostatic disorders or are being used to diagnose such health problems. No clinical applications, however, currently exist for the majority of snake venom proteins acting on haemostasis. We conclude with the most promising potential uses in this respect.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.