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Keywords:

  • Echis carinatus ;
  • hemorrhage;
  • melatonin;
  • oxidative damage;
  • snake venom metalloproteases;
  • viper venom

Abstract

Viper bites cause high morbidity and mortality worldwide and regarded as a neglected tropical disease affecting a large healthy population. Classical antivenom therapy has appreciably reduced the snakebite mortality rate; it apparently fails to tackle viper venom-induced local manifestations that persist even after the administration of antivenom. Recently, viper venom-induced oxidative stress and vital organ damage is deemed as yet another reason for concern; these are considered as postmedicated complications of viper bite. Thus, treating viper bite has become a challenge demanding new treatment strategies, auxiliary to antivenin therapy. In the last decade, several studies have reported the use of plant products and clinically approved drugs to neutralize venom-induced pharmacology. However, very few attempts were undertaken to study oxidative stress and vital organ damage. Based on this background, the present study evaluated the protective efficacy of melatonin in Echis carinatus (EC) venom-induced tissue necrosis, oxidative stress, and organ toxicity. The results demonstrated that melatonin efficiently alleviated EC venom-induced hemorrhage and myonecrosis. It also mitigated the altered levels of inflammatory mediators and oxidative stress markers of blood components in liver and kidney homogenates, and documented renal and hepatoprotective action of melatonin. The histopathology of skin, muscle, liver, and kidney tissues further substantiated the overall protection offered by melatonin against viper bite toxicities. Besides the inability of antivenoms to block local effects and the fact that melatonin is already a widely used drug promulgating a multitude of therapeutic functionalities, its use in viper bite management is of high interest and should be seriously considered.