Immunochemistry Laboratory


 Editor de Conteúdo

​​​Lab Supervisor

Denise Vilarinho Tambourgi –

Lab Researchers
Carla Cristina Squaiella –

Fábio Carlos Magnoli –
Fernanda Calheta Vieira Portaro –
Giselle Pidde Queiroz –
Jorge Mário da Costa Ferreira Jr. –
Osvaldo Augusto Brazil Esteves Sant’Anna –
Wilmar Dias da Silva –

general objective of the unit

The Immunochemistry Laboratory develops studies whose objectives are to isolate and to characterize components of animal poisons and their respective modes of action in order to establish the basis for the development of more efficient therapeutic strategies for envenomation. In this sense, it has evaluated, in particular, the role of the Complement System in the pathogenesis of poisonings. Moreover, it has analyzed the humoral immune response to animal toxins and those of microorganisms and developed studies for the production of neutralizing anti-sera. Thus, the group has investigated and generated knowledge relevant to aspects of innate and acquired immunity, in the presence of antigens, immunogenicity, anti-venoms and vaccines.


research areas

1. Interactions of animal toxins and those of microorganisms with the Complement System and immune and inflammatory cells

Information about the activators/inactivators of the mammalian Complement present in animal poisons, bacteria, fungi and parasites is being accumulated. The isolation and characterization of animal poison components that act on the Complement System are not only important for the study of this system, but also for the understanding of the local/systemic reactions that take place in envenomation and infection.


2. Development of new anti-venom sera and analysis of the neutralizing potential

The Immunochemistry Laboratory has analyzed the humoral immune response to venom components and developed studies for the production of neutralizing anti-sera.


3. Molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of the poisoning by spider species Loxosceles

The bite of Loxosceles spiders induces a variety of biological effects, including Complement-dependant dermonecrosis and hemolysis. In Brazil, more than 5,000 Loxosceles poisoning cases are registered each year, concentrated mainly in the southern region, where the species predominate L. intermedia and L. laeta. The Immunochemistry Laboratory elucidates the molecular mechanisms involved in the genesis of the local and systemic reactions induced by the poisons of these spiders, contributing to the building of a scientific basis for more efficient therapies for the treatment of Loxoscelism.


4. Immunochemical and functional characterization animal venoms and toxins

Every year a great number of cases of poisonings by venomous animals are reported in Brazil. Due to the lack of understanding about the mechanism of action of some poisons, treatment is sometimes unavailable. The biochemical and functional characterization of the poisons' active components will assist in the development of more adequate therapies. The objective of these studies is to isolate components and to characterize animal poison toxins’ molecular mechanisms of action.


5. Acquired resistance to infections. Studies on the immunogenicity of animal venoms and toxins from viral and bacterial vaccines. Tolerance and immunosuppression genetics

From a broader perspective, however, some gaps such as the understanding of the relationship between pathogens and hosts, as well as the immune response to viral, bacterial and parasitic antigens, persist. Thus, the Immunochemistry Laboratory carries out studies on: the influence of hsp65 of Mycobacterium leprae in autoimmune processes; the applicability of silica as adjuvant; Lachesismuta snake venom protein's effect as a suppressor, besides studies on the actions of viral and bacterial toxins in defined cell lines and in cells of the innate and/or adaptive immune system. Experimental models of vaccines directed at pathogens like the Rabies Virus, Hepatitis B, among others are also being developed.