BIOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The Javan spitting cobra, Naja sputatrix is by itself a unique species and should not be confused as the equatorial and the Indochinese spitting cobras. The distinction among the spitting cobras was however unclear prior to the revision of cobra systematics in the mid-90's, and results of some earlier studies are now questionable as to which species was implicated back then. The current study successfully profiled the venom proteome of authenticated N. sputatrix, and showed that the venom is made up of approximately 64% three-finger toxins (including neurotoxins and cytotoxins) and 31% phospholipases A2 by total venom proteins. The findings verified that the paralyzing components in the venom i.e. neurotoxins are predominantly the short-chain subtype (SNTX) far exceeding the long-chain subtype (LNTX) which is more abundant in the venoms of monocled cobra and Indian common cobra. The neurotoxicity of N. sputatrix venom is hence almost exclusively SNTX-driven, and effective neutralization of the SNTX is the key to early reversal of paralysis. Unfortunately, as shown through a toxin-specific assay, the immunological neutralization of the SNTX using the Indonesian antivenom (SABU) was extremely weak, implying that SABU has limited therapeutic efficacy in treating N. sputatrix envenomation clinically. From the practical standpoint, actions need to be taken at all levels from laboratory to production and policy making to ensure that the shortcoming is overcome.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this experimental study, female ICR mice (6-8 weeks old) were superovulated and cohabited with fertile males for 24 hours. Afterwards, their ovi- ducts were excised and embryos harvested. Embryos at the 2-cell stage were catego- rized as EC embryos, while zygotes with two pronuclei were categorized as LC embryos. Embryos were cultured in M16 medium supplemented with 3% bovine serum albumin (BSA) in a humidified 5% CO2atmosphere. Control embryos were cultured until the blastocyst stage without vitrification. Experimental embryos at the 2-cell stage were vitri- fied for one hour using 40% v/v ethylene glycol, 18% w/v Ficoll-70 and 0.5 M sucrose as the cryoprotectant. We recorded the numbers of surviving embryos from the control and experimental groups and their development until the blastocyst stage. Results were analyzed using the chi-square test.
RESULTS: A significantly higher proportion of EC embryos (96.7%) from the control group developed to the blastocyst stage compared with LC embryos (57.5%, P<0.0001). Similarly, in the experimental group, a significantly higher percentage of vitrified EC embryos (69.4%) reached the blastocyst stage compared to vitrified LC embryos (27.1%, P<0.0001).
CONCLUSION: Vitrified EC embryos are more vitrification tolerant than LC embryos. Prese- lection of EC embryos may be used as a tool for selection of embryos that exhibit higher developmental competence after vitrification.