Venom and Purified Toxins of the Spectacled Cobra (Naja naja) from Pakistan: Insights into Toxicity and Antivenom Neutralization.Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2016 06 01; 94(6):1392-9.AJ
Geographical variations of snake venoms can result in suboptimal effectiveness of Indian antivenoms that are currently used in most South Asian countries. This study investigated the toxicity and neutralization profile of the venom and toxins from Pakistani spectacled cobra, Naja naja, using VINS polyvalent antivenom (VPAV, India), Naja kaouthia monovalent antivenom (NKMAV, Thailand), and neuro bivalent antivenom (NBAV, Taiwan). Cation-exchange and reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography fractionations followed by toxin identification through liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (MS)/MS indicated that the venom comprised mainly of postsynaptic neurotoxins (NTXs) (long neurotoxins [LNTXs], 28.3%; short neurotoxins [SNTXs], 8%), cytotoxins (CTXs) (31.2%), and acidic phospholipases A2 (12.3%). NKMAV is the most effective in neutralizing the lethal effect of the venom (potency = 1.1 mg venom/mL) and its LNTX (potency = 0.5 mg toxin/mL), consistent with the high content of LNTX in N. kaouthia venom. VPAV was effective in neutralizing the CTX (potency = 0.4 mg toxin/mL), in agreement with the higher CTX abundance in Indian cobra venom. All the three antivenoms were weak in neutralizing the SNTX (potency = 0.03-0.04 mg toxin/mL), including NBAV that was raised from the SNTX-rich Taiwanese cobra venom. In a challenge-rescue experiment, envenomed mice were prevented from death by a maximal dose of VPAV (intravenous 200 μL) but the recovery from paralysis was slow, indicating the need for higher or repeated doses of VPAV. Our results suggest that optimal neutralization for Pakistani N. naja venom may be achieved by improving the formulation of antivenom production to enhance antivenom immunoreactivity against long and SNTXs.