Envenomation by vipers with hemotoxic enzymes continues to be a worldwide source of morbidity and mortality. The present work examined the effects of exposure of venom enzymes to carbon monoxide and O-phenylhydroxylamine, agents that modulate the biometal heme, by forming carboxyheme and metheme, respectively. Four venoms obtained from medically important, diverse snake venom found in Africa, Asia and Australia were analyzed. The species that had venom tested in human plasma with thrombelastography and heme modulating agents were Deinagkistrodon acutus, Protobothrops mucrosquamatus, Dispholidus typus and Pseudonaja textilis. These venoms varied four hundred-fold in potency (ng-µg/ml) to exert procoagulant effects on human plasma; further, there was species specific variability in venom inhibition after exposure to carboxyheme or metheme agents. Lastly, using a wide range of carbon monoxide concentrations, it was determined that the factor V component of P. textilis venom was likely inhibited before the factor X component. Further investigation using this thrombelastograph-based, venom "kinetomic" methodology involving heme modulation will demonstrate in time its laboratory and clinical utility.
Keywords: Carbon monoxide; Heme; Hemotoxic venom; Metheme; Prothrombin activator; Thrombin-like activity.