Comparative study on the ability of IgG and F(ab')2 antivenoms to neutralize lethal and myotoxic effects induced by Micrurus nigrocinctus (coral snake) venom.

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  • 1 Instituto Clodomiro Picado, Facultad de Microbiología, and Departamento de Bioquímica, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José.

A comparative study was performed on the ability of IgG and F(ab')2 antivenoms to neutralize lethal and myotoxic activities of Micrurus nigrocinctus venom. Both antivenoms were adjusted to a similar neutralizing potency in experiments where venom and antivenoms were preincubated prior to injection. No significant differences were observed between IgG and F(ab')2 antivenoms concerning neutralization of lethal effect in rescue experiments, i.e., when antivenom was administered intravenously after envenomation. However, F(ab')2 antivenom was more effective in prolonging the time of death when subneutralizing doses were administered immediately after venom injection. Both products partially reversed the binding of M. nigrocinctus alpha-neurotoxins to acetylcholine receptor in vitro. The IgG and F(ab')2 antivenoms effectively neutralized venom-induced myotoxicity when administered intravenously immediately after envenomation, although neutralization was poor if antivenom injections were delayed. Intramuscular injection of venom promoted diffusion of antivenom antibodies throughout muscle tissue, and F(ab')2 diffused to a higher extent than IgG molecules. Thus, despite the observation that F(ab')2 antivenom was more effective than IgG antivenom in prolonging the time of death when subneutralizing doses were administered immediately after envenomation, no major differences were observed in antivenom neutralization of lethal and myotoxic effects or in their capacity to reverse neurotoxin binding to the acetylcholine receptor.

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