Annually, thousands suffer poisonous snakebite, often from defibrinogenating species. It has been demonstrated that iron and carbon monoxide change the ultrastructure of plasma thrombi and improve coagulation kinetics. Thus, this investigation sought to determine whether pre-treatment of plasma with iron and carbon monoxide could attenuate venom-mediated catalysis of fibrinogen obtained from Agkistrodon species with fibrinogenase activity. Human plasma was pre-treated with ferric chloride (0-10 μM) and carbon monoxide-releasing molecule-2 (CORM-2, 0-100 μM) prior to exposure to 0.5-11 μg/ml of six different Agkistrodon species' venom. The amount of venom used for experimentation needed to decrease coagulation function of one or more kinetic parameters by at least 50% of normal values for (e.g. half the normal speed of clot formation). Coagulation kinetics were determined with thrombelastography. All six snake venoms degraded plasmatic coagulation kinetics to a significant extent, especially prolonging the onset to clot formation and diminishing the speed of clot growth. Pre-treatment of plasma with iron and carbon monoxide attenuated these venom-mediated coagulation kinetic changes in a species-specific manner, with some venom effects markedly abrogated while others were only mildly decreased. Further in vitro investigation of other pit viper venoms that possess fibrinogenolytic activity is indicated to identify species amenable to or resistant to iron and carbon monoxide-mediated attenuation of venom-mediated catalysis of fibrinogen. Lastly, future pre-clinical investigation with animal models (e.g. rabbit ear-bleed model) is planned to determine whether iron and carbon monoxide can be used therapeutically after envenomation.
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