Biological properties of the venom of the Papuan black snake (Pseudechis papuanus): presence of a phospholipase A2 platelet inhibitor.
Kamiguti AS., Laing GD., Lowe GM., Zuzel M., Warrell DA., Theakston RD.
The whole venom of Pseudechis papuanus, in addition to its anticoagulant activity, powerfully inhibited platelet aggregation induced by ADP, adrenaline, collagen, ristocetin and thrombin. High levels of phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activity were detected. A mild procoagulant activity was also observed. Following exposure of platelets to P. papuanus venom, platelet factor 3 (procoagulant platelet phospholipid) showed decreased cofactor activity in factor X activation by Russell's viper, venom suggesting that the venom PLA2 plays a major role in the inhibition of the coagulation mechanism. In vivo rodent assays confirmed the inhibitory effect on platelets and the haemorrhagic and neurotoxic activities. It is possible that PLA2 is responsible for anticoagulation and that this, combined with the effect on platelet aggregation, a mild procoagulant and a moderately potent haemorrhagin, is responsible for the haemorrhagic diathesis observed in systemically envenomed patients. Polyvalent (Australia-Papua New Guinea) Commonwealth Serum Laboratories antivenom, currently used for clinical treatment of snakebite in Papua New Guinea, proved highly effective against P. papuanus venom in rodent and in vitro assays, despite the absence of this particular venom from the immunising mixture.