Biochemical and pharmacological characterization of a toxic fraction and its cytotoxin-like component isolated from Russell's viper (Daboia russelii russelii) venom

Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2015 Feb;168:55-65. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpc.2014.12.001. Epub 2014 Dec 9.


The pathophysiological significance of a toxic fraction (GF-VI DEAE-II) isolated from Russell's viper venom (RVV) is characterized. GF-VI DEAE-II represents 1.6% of the total RVV protein and it comprises of a 27.6kDa minor component (RP-I) (0.04%, w/w) and a major 6.6kDa non-enzymatic peptide (1.11%, w/w), named Rusvitoxin. The LC-MS/MS analysis of RP-I showed its identity to snake venom serine proteases, whereas Rusvitoxin demonstrated its close identity with snake venom three finger toxins, cytotoxins and cardiotoxins particularly from Naja sp. GF-VI DEAE-II was found to be non-cytotoxic to the tested mammalian cancer cells and non-hemolytic; nevertheless, it demonstrated α-fibrin(ogen)ase activity and in vivo toxicity in BALB/c mice with an LD50 (i.p.) of 2.3mg/kg. GF-VI DEAE-II induced lethargy and hind-leg paralysis in mice within 10min of i.p. injection. GF-VI DEAE-II induced hyperfibrinogenomia, and significantly altered (p<0.05) the plasma levels of factor X, pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines viz. TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-10 in treated mice. Histological observations of tissues and biochemical properties of serum from GF-VI DEAE-II-treated mice suggested multiple organ dysfunctions. Conversely, Rusvitoxin at a dose of 5mg/kg did not induce toxicity in BALB/c mice. At 1:15 (antigen: antivenom, w/w) ratio, commercially polyvalent and monovalent antivenoms neutralized more than 80% of the fibrinolytic and anticoagulant activities of GF-VI DEAE-II. The present study suggests the significant role of GF-VI DEAE-II in RVV-induced pathogenesis in victim/prey.

Keywords: Cytotoxin; Hyperfibrinogenomia; Inflammatory cytokines; Multiple organ dysfunction; Prey immobilization; Protease; Russell's viper venom.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticoagulants / metabolism
  • Antivenins / pharmacology
  • Cytotoxins / adverse effects*
  • Cytotoxins / pharmacology*
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / metabolism
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mollusk Venoms / adverse effects*
  • Mollusk Venoms / pharmacology*
  • Russell's Viper / metabolism*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Viper Venoms / adverse effects*
  • Viper Venoms / pharmacology*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Antivenins
  • Cytotoxins
  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Interleukin-6
  • Mollusk Venoms
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Viper Venoms
  • Interleukin-10