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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 1574971, 9 pages
Research Article

Bothrops jararaca and Bothrops erythromelas Snake Venoms Promote Cell Cycle Arrest and Induce Apoptosis via the Mitochondrial Depolarization of Cervical Cancer Cells

1Programa de Pós Graduação em Ciências Farmacêuticas, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN, Brazil
2Programa de Pós Graduação em Ciências da Saúde, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN, Brazil
3Laboratório de Imunoquímica, Instituto Butantan, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
4Departamento de Tocoginecologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN, Brazil
5Maternidade Escola Januário Cicco (MEJC), Natal, RN, Brazil

Received 5 September 2016; Accepted 6 November 2016

Academic Editor: Ki-Wan Oh

Copyright © 2016 Emanuelly Bernardes-Oliveira 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.


Bothrops jararaca (BJ) and Bothrops erythromelas (BE) are viper snakes found in South-Southeast and Northeast regions of Brazil, respectively. Snake venoms are bioactive neurotoxic substances synthesized and stored by venom glands, with different physiological and pharmacological effects, recently suggesting a possible preference for targets in cancer cells; however, mechanisms of snakes have been little studied. Here, we investigated the mechanism responsible for snake crude venoms toxicity in cultured cervical cancer cells SiHa and HeLa. We show that BJ and BE snake crude venoms exert cytotoxic effects to these cells. The percentage of apoptotic cells and cell cycle analysis and cell proliferation were assessed by flow cytometry and MTT assay. Detection of mitochondrial membrane potential (Rhodamine-123), nuclei morphological change, and DNA fragmentation were examined by staining with DAPI. The results showed that both the BJ and BE venoms were capable of inhibiting tumor cell proliferation, promoting cytotoxicity and death by apoptosis of target SiHa and HeLa cells when treated with BJ and BE venoms. Furthermore, data revealed that both BJ venoms in SiHa cell promoted nuclear condensation, fragmentation, and formation of apoptotic bodies by DAPI assay, mitochondrial damage by Rhodamine-123, and cell cycle block in the G1-G0 phase. BJ and BE venoms present anticancer potential, suggesting that both Bothrops venoms could be used as prototypes for the development of new therapies.