Pathological alterations induced by neuwiedase, a metalloproteinase isolated from Bothrops neuwiedi snake venom.
ABSTRACT The pathological alterations induced by neuwiedase, a 22 kDa class P-I metalloproteinase from the venom of the South American pit viper Bothrops neuwiedi, were studied in mice. Neuwiedase was devoid of hemorrhagic activity when tested in the skin up to a dose of 200 microgram, and also after intramuscular injection in the gastrocnemius. However, it induced bleeding when applied onto the mouse cremaster muscle in intravital microscopy experiments, and caused pulmonary hemorrhage when injected intravenously at doses higher than 5 microgram/g. Median lethal dose (LD(50)) by the intravenous route was 5 microgram/g, whereas LD(50) of crude venom was 0.47 microgram/g. After intramuscular injection, neuwiedase induced a mild myotoxic effect, evidenced histologically and by the increment in plasma creatine kinase activity, but it was devoid of hemorrhagic and thrombotic effects. In contrast, crude B. neuwiedi venom induced prominent hemorrhage and myonecrosis in gastrocnemius muscle. Both venom and neuwiedase induced an inflammatory reaction in muscle tissue characterized by abundant polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Moreover, a conspicuous edema developed in the foot pad after subcutaneous injection of neuwiedase. Anti-neuwiedase antibodies produced in rabbits were effective in the neutralization of hemorrhagic activity of crude venom, evidencing immunological cross-reactivity between neuwiedase and other hemorrhagic metalloproteinases present in the venom, and suggesting that metalloproteinases devoid of, or having low, hemorrhagic activity could be good immunogens to generate antibodies effective against high molecular mass metalloproteinasas having potent hemorrhagic activity. It is concluded that neuwiedase, despite its lack of hemorrhagic effect when injected in the gastrocnemius muscle, contributes to local tissue damage by inducing edema, inflammatory infiltrate and mild myotoxicity, and by degrading extracellular matrix components. In addition, large doses of neuwiedase may contribute to pulmonary bleeding