How the snake venom is used and where it is used
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Snakes are elongated, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes. Like all other squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales. Many species of snakes have skulls with several more joints than their lizard ancestors, enabling them to swallow prey much larger than their heads with their highly mobile jaws. To accommodate their narrow bodies, snakes’ paired organs (such as kidneys) appear one in front of the other instead of side by side, and most have only one functional lung. Some species retain a pelvic girdle with a pair of vestigial claws on either side of the cloaca. Lizards have evolved elongate bodies without limbs or with greatly reduced limbs about twenty-five times independently via convergent evolution, leading to many lineages of legless lizards. Legless lizards resemble snakes, but several common groups of legless lizards have eyelids and external ears, which snakes lack,
although this rule is not universal
Living snakes are found on every continent except Antarctica, and on most smaller land masses; exceptions include some large islands, such as Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, the Hawaiian archipelago, and the islands of New Zealand, and many small islands of the Atlantic and central Pacific oceans. Additionally, sea snakes are widespread throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans. More than 20 families are currently recognized, comprising about 520 genera and about 3,600 species. They range in size from the tiny, 10.4 cm (4.1 in)-long Barbados thread snaketo the reticulated python of 6.95 meters (22.8 ft) in length. The fossil species Titanoboa cerrejonensis was 12.8 meters (42 ft) long. Snakes are thought to have evolved from either burrowing or aquatic lizards, perhaps during the Jurassic period, with the earliest known fossils dating to between 143 and 167 Ma ago. The diversity of modern snakes appeared during the Paleocene epoch (c 66 to 56 Ma ago, after the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event). The oldest preserved descriptions of snakes can be found in the Brooklyn Papyrus.
Most species are nonvenomous and those that have venom use it primarily to kill and subdue prey rather than for self-defense. Some possess venom potent enough to cause painful injury or death to humans. Nonvenomous snakes either swallow prey alive or kill by constriction.
Although toxic snakes are composed of a complex set of poisonous compounds, enzymes and non-toxic substances, they are historically divided into three main types: cytotoxin, neurotoxin, and homotoxin. Other types of toxins secreted by snakes affect certain parts of the cell and include cardiotoxin, myotoxin and nephrotoxin.
Cytotoxins are toxic substances that kill the body’s cells and can kill most or all of the cells of a tissue or organ. These substances produce a complication called the tissue of manhood. Some tissues may develop condensation. Tissue metrics mean the change of the whole or part of the tissue from solid to liquid. Cytotoxin makes digestion easier. Cytotoxins are usually specific for the type of cell affected. A group of cytotoxins that attack heart cells are called cardiotoxins. Myotoxins target muscle cells and convert them to fluid. But the group that destroys kidney cells are nephrotoxins. Many species of toxic snakes have a combination of cytotoxins and some have the potential to produce neurotoxin and homotoxin. Cytotoxins destroy the cells by damaging them and causing cell degeneration and corruption. However, the cell is likely to undergo programmed cell death or apoptosis. Most visible cellular damage caused by cytotoxins occurs at the site of the bite.
Neurotoxins are a group of chemicals that poison the nervous system. These substances exert their effect by disrupting the transmission of chemical signals (neurotransmitters) between neurons. The presence of neurotoxin may lead to reduced production of neurotransmitters or blockage of neurotransmitter receptor sites. Other snake neurotoxins block calcium output voltage channels and potassium output voltage channels. These channels are very important in the transmission and conduction of signals among nerve cells. Neurotoxins cause muscle paralysis. This type of poison may lead to respiratory problems and death. Snakes of the Elapidae family usually produce neurotoxin venom. The teeth of the bites are poisonous snakes Cobra, Mamba, sea snakes, deadly vultures and small and straight corals.
Calciptin: These neurotoxins disrupt nerve impulse transmission by blocking calcium output voltage channels. Black mamas produce this type of venom.
Cabrotoxin: Cobra snakes block this nicotine receptor by producing this neurotoxin, leading to paralyzing prey.
Calcilodine: This neurotoxin, like calciptin, disrupts nerve signals by blocking calcium output voltage channels. It can be found in eastern green mambas.
Fasyculin I: This type of neurotoxin, also found in the bite of southern green mamas, leads to uncontrolled muscle movement, seizures, and respiratory paralysis by preventing acetylcholinesterase.
Callitoxin: Callitoxin, produced by aquatic corals, targets the sodium channels of nerve cells and prevents them from closing. This can cause paralysis of the whole body.
Homotoxin is a type of blood toxin that, in addition to its cytotoxic effects, disrupts the normal blood clotting process. These toxins cause the red blood cells to proliferate, interfere with blood clotting, and cause tissue death and tissue damage. The destruction of red blood cells and the inability to clot the blood leads to severe internal bleeding. Another complication of accumulating dead red blood cells is impaired optimal kidney activity. While some homotoxins prevent blood clotting, others cause the coagulation of platelets and other blood cells. As a result, clots block the circulation of blood through the blood vessels and can cause heart failure. The bites of the Viperida snakes, such as Viper and Pete Viper, contain homotoxins.
Use of poisonous snakes in medicine
Homotoxin-derived drugs are useful in the treatment of heart attacks and blood disorders. The first drug taken from toxin snakes was used to treat hypertension. The toxin was taken from a Brazilian Piper Viper and contained a substance that prevented the angiotensin enzyme from functioning properly. The human body uses this enzyme to maintain a constant blood pressure. Therefore, medical researchers produce the synthetic version of the protein found in snake venom and use it in medications for the treatment of hypertension.
Other homotoxin-derived drugs include optifibatide (an improved protein found in snake venom) and tyrofibian (an African snake protein). These drugs are used to treat mild heart attacks, and help dissolve and prevent blood clots. Medical tests have suggested that taking a small amount of Malayan venom would help dissolve blood clots in strokes and prevent new clots from forming. Neurotoxin-derived drugs are used to treat brain damage, strokes, and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.