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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Coronary vasospasm as the primary cause of death due to the venom of the burrowing asp, Atractaspis engaddensis.

The venom from the snake Atractaspis engaddensis has been shown to be cardiotoxic in anesthetized mice. The effects of the venom were further tested on both atrial and Langendorff heart preparations of rats, in addition to its cardiovascular effects in anesthetized mice. The venom (0.1 mg/kg, i.v.) produced a transient hypertension followed by fluctuation of arterial blood pressure, leading to cardiac failure within 20 min. Various kinds of ECG changes, including S-T depression and A-V block were observed within 10 sec after injection. A dose as low as 1 microgram of venom injected into the perfusion system produced a marked coronary vasospasm in the Langendorff heart preparation, whereas no deleterious effect was found in the atrial preparation at a concentration as high as 10 micrograms/ml. It is concluded that the cardiotoxic effects of the venom are primarily due to coronary vasospasm.[1]


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