Effect of the snake venom component crotamine on lymphatic endothelial cell responses and lymph transport. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: The pathology of snake envenomation is closely tied to the severity of edema in the tissue surrounding the area of the bite. Elucidating the mechanisms that promote the development of such severe edema is critical to a better understanding of how to treat this life-threatening injury. We focused on one of the most abundant venom components in North American viper venom, crotamine, and the effects it has on the cells and function of the lymphatic system. METHODS: We used RT-PCR to identify the location and relative abundance of crotamine's cellular targets (Kv channels) within the tissues and cells of the lymphatic system. We used calcium flux, nitrate production, and cell morphometry to determine the effects of crotamine on lymphatic endothelial cells. We used tracer transport, node morphometry, and node deposition to determine the effects of crotamine on lymph transport in vivo. RESULTS: We found that genes that encode targets of crotamine are highly present in lymphatic tissues and cells and that there is a differential distribution of those genes that correlates with phasic contractile activity. We found that crotamine potentiates calcium flux in human dermal lymphatic endothelial cells in response to stimulation with histamine and sheer stress (but not alone) and that it alters the production of nitric oxide in response to shear as well as changes the level of F-actin polymerization of those same cells. Crotamine alters lymphatic transport of large molecular weight tracers to local lymph nodes and is deposited within the node mostly in the immediate subcapsular region. CONCLUSION: This evidence suggests that snake venom components may have an impact on the function of the lymphatic system. This needs to be studied in greater detail as there are numerous venom components that may have effects on aspects of the lymphatic system. This would not only provide basic information on the pathobiology of snakebite but also provide targets for improved therapeutics to treat snakebite.

published proceedings

  • Microcirculation

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Si, H., Yin, C., Wang, W., Davies, P., Sanchez, E., Suntravat, M., Zawieja, D., & Cromer, W.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Si, Hongjiang||Yin, Chunhiu||Wang, Wei||Davies, Peter||Sanchez, Elda||Suntravat, Montamas||Zawieja, David||Cromer, Walter

publication date

  • April 2023