Immunological cross-reactivity and neutralization of the principal toxins of Naja sumatrana and related cobra venoms by a Thai polyvalent antivenom (Neuro Polyvalent Snake Antivenom).Acta Trop. 2015 Sep; 149:86-93.AT
The low potency of cobra antivenom has been an area of concern in immunotherapy for cobra envenomation. This study sought to investigate factors limiting the neutralizing potency of cobra antivenom, using a murine model. We examined the immunological reactivity and neutralizing potency of a Thai polyvalent antivenom against the principal toxins of Naja sumatrana (Equatorial spitting cobra) venom and two related Asiatic cobra venom α-neurotoxins. The antivenom possesses moderate neutralizing potency against phospholipases A2 (P, potency of 0.98mg/mL) and moderately weak neutralizing potency against long-chain α-neurotoxins (0.26-0.42mg/mL) but was only weakly effective in neutralizing the short-chain α-neurotoxins and cardiotoxins (0.05-0.08mg/mL). The poor neutralizing potency of the antivenom on the low molecular mass short-chain neurotoxins and cardiotoxins is presumably the main limiting factor of the efficacy of the cobra antivenom. Our results also showed that phospholipase A2, which exhibited the highest ELISA reactivity and avidity, was most effectively neutralized, whereas N. sumatrana short-chain neurotoxin, which exhibited the lowest ELISA reactivity and avidity, was least effectively neutralized by the antivenom. These observations suggest that low immunoreactivity (low ELISA reactivity and avidity) is one of the reasons for poor neutralization of the cobra venom low molecular mass toxins. Nevertheless, the overall results show that there is a lack of congruence between the immunological reactivity of the toxins toward antivenom and the effectiveness of toxin neutralization by the antivenom, indicating that there are other factors that also contribute to the weak neutralization capacity of the antivenom. Several suggestions have been put forward to overcome the low efficacy of the cobra antivenom. The use of a 'proper-mix' formulation of cobra venoms as immunogen, whereby the immunogen mixture used for hyperimmunization contains a mix of various types of α-neurotoxins and cardiotoxins in sufficient amount, may also help to improve the efficacy and broaden the neutralization spectrum of the antivenom.