Cytotoxicity of Venoms and Cytotoxins from Asiatic Cobras (Naja kaouthia, Naja sumatrana, Naja atra) and Neutralization by Antivenoms from Thailand, Vietnam, and Taiwan.Toxins (Basel). 2022 May 10; 14(5)T
Envenoming by cobras (Naja spp.) often results in extensive local tissue necrosis when optimal treatment with antivenom is not available. This study investigated the cytotoxicity of venoms and purified cytotoxins from the Monocled Cobra (Naja kaouthia), Taiwan Cobra (Naja atra), and Equatorial Spitting Cobra (Naja sumatrana) in a mouse fibroblast cell line, followed by neutralization of the cytotoxicity by three regional antivenoms: the Thai Naja kaouthia monovalent antivenom (NkMAV), Vietnamese snake antivenom (SAV) and Taiwanese Neuro bivalent antivenom (NBAV). The cytotoxins of N. atra (NA-CTX) and N. sumatrana (NS-CTX) were identified as P-type cytotoxins, whereas that of N. kaouthia (NK-CTX) is S-type. All venoms and purified cytotoxins demonstrated varying concentration-dependent cytotoxicity in the following trend: highest for N. atra, followed by N. sumatrana and N. kaouthia. The antivenoms moderately neutralized the cytotoxicity of N. kaouthia venom but were weak against N. atra and N. sumatrana venom cytotoxicity. The neutralization potencies of the antivenoms against the cytotoxins were varied and generally low across NA-CTX, NS-CTX, and NK-CTX, possibly attributed to limited antigenicity of CTXs and/or different formulation of antivenom products. The study underscores the need for antivenom improvement and/or new therapies in treating local tissue toxicity caused by cobra envenomings.