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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 153045, 8 pages
Review Article

Snake Venom PLA2s Inhibitors Isolated from Brazilian Plants: Synthetic and Natural Molecules

1Chemistry, Biotechnology and Bioprocess Department, Federal University of São João Del Rei, 36420-000 Ouro Branco, MG, Brazil
2Molecular Biology Department, Federal University of Paraíba, 58051-900 João Pessoa, PB, Brazil
3Biochemistry Department, State University of Campinas, 13083-970 Campinas, SP, Brazil
4Chemistry Department, Federal University of Lavras, 37200-000 Lavras, MG, Brazil
5Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Federal University of Rondonia, 76812-245 Porto Velho, RO, Brazil

Received 31 May 2013; Accepted 19 August 2013

Academic Editor: Fernando Albericio

Copyright © 2013 B. M. A. Carvalho et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ophidian envenomation is an important health problem in Brazil and other South American countries. In folk medicine, especially in developing countries, several vegetal species are employed for the treatment of snakebites in communities that lack prompt access to serum therapy. However, the identification and characterization of the effects of several new plants or their isolated compounds, which are able to inhibit the activities of snake venom, are extremely important and such studies are imperative. Snake venom contains several organic and inorganic compounds; phospholipases A2 (PLA2s) are one of the principal toxic components of venom. PLA2s display a wide variety of pharmacological activities, such as neurotoxicity, myotoxicity, cardiotoxicity, anticoagulant, hemorrhagic, and edema-inducing effects. PLA2 inhibition is of pharmacological and therapeutic interests as these enzymes are involved in several inflammatory diseases. This review describes the results of several studies of plant extracts and their isolated active principles, when used against crude snake venoms or their toxic fractions. Isolated inhibitors, such as steroids, terpenoids, and phenolic compounds, are able to inhibit PLA2s from different snake venoms. The design of specific inhibitors of PLA2s might help in the development of new pharmaceutical drugs, more specific antivenom, or even as alternative approaches for treating snakebites.