Decreased serum cholesterol level after snake bite (Vipera palaestinae) as a marker of severity of envenomation

Eyal Winkler*, Michal Chovers, Shlomo Almog, Sara Pri-Chen, Michal Rotenberg, Moshe Tirosh, David Ezra, Hillel Halkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In 44 patients bitten by snakes (Vipera palaestinae), admission serum cholesterol levels were negatively correlated with severity of envenomation (mean ± SD, 175 ± 49, 137 ± 36, and 96 ± 40 mg/dl, respectively, in cases with mild, moderate, and severe clinical manifestations [p < 0.0001]). Concomitant decreases in serum albumin were not significant. These findings were supported by experimental results in rabbits, in which low, medium, and high doses of purified V. palaestinae venom (all in the non-lethal range), led to dose-dependent decreases in serum cholesterol, at 180 minutes, of 9.5% ± 8.9%, 18.6% ± 10.1%, and 32.7% ± 11.8%, respectively (p < 0.01). This rapid decrease in serum cholesterol level is only partially explained by transcapillary lipoprotein leakage and probably indicates changes in lipoprotein transport and metabolism caused by the phospholipase A2 component of V. palaestinae venom. Admission total serum cholesterol level may serve as an indicator of severity of envenomation in patients bitten by snakes of the Vipera genus before full development of the clinical syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)774-778
Number of pages5
JournalTranslational Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1993
Externally publishedYes


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