Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Biochemical and morphological analysis of cell death induced by Egyptian cobra (Naja haje) venom on cultured cells

A. A. Omran, M.A. Fabb, S.Dickson, G.

We investigated the in vitro process of cell death caused by Egyptian cobra venom on primary human embryonic kidney (293T) and mouse myoblast (C2C12) cell lines. The aim of these studies was to provide further information about triggering cell death, and suggest methods for eliminating unwanted cells, such as tumour cells. Both cell lines were treated with 10, 20, and 50 m g/ml of Egyptian cobra (Naja haje) venom in serum free media (SFM) and incubated for 8 hours. Total activities of the lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and creatine kinase (CK) released in the culture during venom incubation were used as an indicator of the venom in vitro cytotoxicity. Cell injury was morphologically recognized and apoptosis determined by a Fluorescing Apoptosis Detection System and confirmed by staining nuclear DNA with DAPI. Our data clearly demonstrated marked cytotoxic effects and acute cell injury for both cell lines. Release of LDH and CK into the culture media induced by the venom correlates well with the morphological changes and extent of cell death. Mostly, these consequences were time and dose-dependent in both cell lines. The results obtained from this study indicated that cobra venom cause cell death by two different mechanisms: necrosis and induction of apoptosis. The apoptotic mechanism, accompanied by cell necrosis, mediated cell destruction of both tested cell lines; however, necrosis was predominant in the C2C12 cell line while apoptosis, in 293T cells. This unusual form of cell death induced by cobra venom may represent a combination of apoptosis and necrosis within the same cell. This is a first-hand investigation showing the apoptotic effects of N. haje venom at the cellular level. However, the contribution of the apoptotic pathway may be dependent on concentration and/or time of exposure to snake venom.

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