Cardiotoxic Effects of Micrurus surinamensis (Cuvier, 1817) Snake Venom

Lilian de Paula Gonçalves Reis, Ana Flávia Machado Botelho, Clara Rojo Novais, Aparecida Tatiane Lino Fiúza, Maira Souza Oliveira Barreto, Marina Guimarães Ferreira, Cesar Bonilla, Carlos Chavez-Olórtegui, Marília Martins Melo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Micrurus surinamensis is a coral snake from the Elapidae family of wide distribution in Amazonia Forest. Its venom contains neurotoxins that induce muscular and respiratory paralysis; however, its cardiovascular action is not yet characterized. The aim of this study was to investigate the cardiotoxic effects caused by M. surinamensis poisoning in rodents. Twelve guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) were distributed in two groups (n = 6) named as control and envenomed. The control group received 0.2 ml of PBS/BSA via intramuscular injection (IM), while envenomed animals received 0.75 µg of venom per g of body weight, also via IM. Electrocardiographic examination (ECG) and biochemical serum tests were conducted before and 2 h after inoculation. ECG of the envenomed animals revealed severe progressive arrhythmias including atrioventricular block, supraventricular, and ventricular extrasystoles. Serum biochemistry showed significant increase in CK, CK-MB, and LDH enzymes corroborating the skeletal and cardiac muscle damage. Myonecrosis and degeneration were observed in both skeletal and heart muscle; nevertheless, transmission electron microscopy revealed cardiac muscle fibers fragmentation. In conclusion, M. surinamensis venom has a potent cardiotoxic activity eliciting arrhythmogenic effects and heart damage after only 2 h of envenomation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-471
Number of pages10
JournalCardiovascular Toxicology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC part of Springer Nature.


  • Arrhythmias
  • Coral snakes
  • Elapidae
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electron microscopy
  • Myotoxicity


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