Snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMPs) are widely distributed in snake venoms and play important roles in hemostatic disorders and local tissue damage that follows snakebite. The impact of SVMPs on hemostasis has been extensively studied showing diverse effects both on soluble factors and cellular components. The action of SVMPs involves catalytic and anti-adhesive properties, as well as direct cellular activation and/or the release of endogenous bioactive components. The purpose of this review is to overview the action of SVMPs on the inhibition of platelet functions; angiogenesis, particularly inducing apoptosis of endothelial cells; and regarding the proinflammatory reaction that follows snakebite. We discuss the structural features of the molecules that may be involved in such activities. The versatility and availability of SVMPs make them important tools for cell biology research into the mechanisms of action of endogenous metalloproteinases, for insights into cellular-matrix interactions and for clinical investigations into the treatment of snakebites.
Keywords: Venom metalloproteinases, platelet, inflammation, endothelial cell, apoptosis, angiogenesis, cytokine, collagen, integrin, disintegrin