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Lace Monitor Bell

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In late 2005, University of Melbourne researchers discovered that all monitors may be somewhat venomous. Previously, bites inflicted by monitors were thought to be prone to infection because of bacteria in their mouths, but the researchers showed that the immediate effects were more likely caused by envenomation. Bites on the hand by lace monitors have been observed to cause swelling within minutes, localised disruption of blood clotting, and shooting pain up to the elbow, which can often last for several hours. In vitro testing showed lace monitor mouth secretion impact on platelet aggregation, drop blood pressure and relax smooth muscle; the last effect mediated by a agent with the same activity as brain natriuretic peptide. Liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry found ample proteins with molecular masses of 2-4 kilodaltons (corresponding with natriuretic peptide), 15 kilodaltons (type III Phospholipase A2), and 23-25 kilodaltons (Cysteine-rich secretory proteins and kallikrein) in these secretions. Washington State University biologist Kenneth V. Kardong and toxicologists Scott A. Weinstein and Tamara L. Smith, have cautioned that labelling these species as venomous oversimplifies the diversity of oral secretions in reptiles, and overestimates the medical risk of bite victims.



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