Endogenous Thrombin Potential as a novel method for the characterization of procoagulant snake venoms and the efficacy of antivenom

Geoffrey Isbister, David Woods, Steven Alley, Margaret O'Leary, Michael Seldon, Lisa Lincz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Venom-induced consumption coagulopathy occurs in snake envenoming worldwide but the interaction between procoagulant snake venoms and human coagulation remains poorly understood. We aimed to evaluate an assay using endogenous thrombin potential (ETP) to investigate the procoagulant properties of a range of Australian whole venoms in human plasma and compared this to traditional clotting and prothrombinase activity studies. We developed a novel modification of ETP using procoagulant snake venoms to trigger thrombin production. This was used to characterise the relative potency, calcium and clotting factor requirements of five important Australian snake venoms and efficacy of commercial antivenom, and compared this to prothrombinase activity and clotting assays. All five venoms initiated thrombin generation in the absence and presence of calcium. Pseudonaja textilis (Brown snake; p<0.0001), Hoplocephalus stephensii (Stephen's-banded snake; p<0.0001) and Notechis scutatus (tiger snake; p=0.0073) all had statistically significant increases in ETP with calcium. Venom potency varied between assays, with ETP ranging from least potent with Oxyuranus scutellatus (Taipan) venom to intermediate with N. scutatus and H. stephensii venoms to most potent with P. textilis and Tropidechis carinatus (Rough-scale snake) venoms. ETPs for N. scutatus, T. carinatus and H. stephensii venoms were severely reduced with factor V deficient plasma. Antivenom neutralized the thrombin generating capacity but not prothrombin substrate cleaving ability of the venoms. Contrary to previous studies using clotting tests and factor Xa substrates, these venoms differ in calcium requirement. ETP is a useful assay to investigate mechanisms of other procoagulant venoms and is a robust method of assessing antivenom efficacy. � 2010.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-85
    Number of pages11
    Issue number1
    Early online date23 Mar 2010
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010


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