Annually, thousands suffer venomous snake-bite from Crotalus simus and Bothrops asper vipers in central and South America. The goals of the present study were to generally characterize the thrombin-like effects of venom from these snakes in human plasma with viscoelastic methods. Human plasma was exposed to the venom of three different C. simus subspecies and venoms obtained from B. asper vipers located in three different locations in Mexico. To characterize the factor X-activating and thrombin-like activity of these venoms, plasma (normal or factor XIII deficient) was pretreated with a variety of additives (e.g., heparin) in the absence or presence of calcium prior to exposure to 2.0?μg/ml of each viperʼs venom. These profiles were compared with plasma without venom that had contact activation of coagulation. Coagulation kinetics were determined with thrombelastography. All venoms had thrombin-like activity, with C. s. simus creating a slow growing, weak clot that was likely mediated by metalloproteinases. In contrast, B. asper venoms had rapid onset of coagulation and a high velocity of thrombus growth. Further, B. asper venom activity was calcium-independent, activated prothrombin, activated factor XIII, and independently polymerized fibrinogen. The viscoelastic methods used were able to differentiate subspecies of C. simus and specimens of B. asper, and provide insight into the mechanisms by which the venoms acted on plasma. These methods may be useful in the profiling of similar venoms and perhaps can assist in the assessment of interventions designed to treat envenomation (e.g., antivenom).
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