Comparative study of the in vivo toxicity and pathophysiology of envenomation by three medically important Egyptian snake venoms

Tarek M. Abd El-Aziz, Mahmoud I. Shoulkamy, Ahmed M. Hegazy, James D. Stockand, Ahmed Mahmoud, Ashraf M.A. Mashaly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Snakebite envenomation is a serious medical problem in many developing tropical and subtropical countries. Envenomation is registered by the World Health Organization as a neglected tropical disease due to critical shortages in the production of antivenom. Envenomation causes more than 100,000 deaths annually. Snakebites result in several effects to include edema, blistering, hemorrhage, necrosis and respiratory paralysis. Antivenom is the preferred treatment for the systemic effects of snakebite envenomation, though these are often ineffective in neutralizing venom toxin-induced local tissue damage. To effectively treat snakebites, it is important to determine the lethal potency and pathophysiological effects induced by specific snake venoms. In the current study, we compared the lethality, and the hemorrhagic and dermonecrotic activities of venoms from three snakes in Egypt that are the primary causes of local tissue necrosis. Our data show that the intraperitoneal median lethal doses (LD50) for Cerastes cerastes, Echis carinatus and Naja nigricollis venoms are 0.946, 1.744 and 0.341 mg/kg mouse body weight, respectively. These results indicated that N. nigricollis venom is the most toxic and significantly accelerated the time of death compared to the other two venoms. However, no hematoma or associated edema appeared upon sub-plantar injection of N. nigricollis venom into the mice hind paw. Two hours following intradermal injection of C. cerastes and E. carinatus venoms, macroscopic analysis of the inner surface of mouse skin showed severe hemorrhagic lesions, whereas only insignificant hemorrhagic lesion appeared in mice injected with the highest dose of N. nigricollis venom. Furthermore, the minimum necrotic doses (MND) for the same venoms were 43.15, and 70.87 µg/mouse, or not observed in the case of N. nigricollis venom, respectively. These LD50 values and pathophysiological results can be used to guide development of antivenom against bites by these dangerous Egyptian snakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-344
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Toxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Antivenom production
  • Envenomation
  • Hemorrhage
  • In vivo toxicity
  • Pathophysiology
  • Snake venoms
  • Snakebites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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