Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Brazilian Pit Viper
Name: Nicole
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
Regarding the brazilian pit vip and its venom:

(1) which compound derived from the Brazilian pit viper is used in heart medications?

(2) how does that compound work as a poison?



Replies:
Hi Nicole! 1)Let me try to answer your question with great pleasure since i am myself Brazilian and i knew some of the people involved with that research. See, one of the hypertension causes is the conversion of Angiotensin I, a substance present on the human blood. Bradykinin is one substance that avoids the conversion of Angiotensin I to Angiotensin II, preventing high blood pressure. OK... some Brazilian researches discovered that the venom from a pit viper native at Brazil, the "jararaca" or "Bothrops Jararaca" has a family of peptides that strongly potentiates the effects of Bradykinin in vitro and in vivo. That factor was named BPF, that is Bradykinin Potentiating Factor, and it helps to keep the blood pressure at its normal level. The research was extended and similar and more potent synthetic substances were made and produced at Phamacological Laboratories. 2) Most snakes venom injure man and other animals when introduced into the organism by a bite.Local effects include wheals, blisters, and violent inflammation followed by death of tissue,muscle spasm,hemorrage and other conditions that can be fatal: tetany (caused by abnormal calcium metabolism) marked by cramps ans convulsions, and depressive symptoms as clouding of senses, paralysis, weakening or arrest of respiration and heartbeat.
Thanks for asking NEWTON!

Mabel

(Dr. Mabel Rodrigues)



Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory