Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

David Cool (Committee Member), Sharath Krishna (Committee Member), Richard Simman (Advisor)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Keloid scarring is an inflammatory healing response to physical injury such as incision or piercing in the dermis. It is characterized by aberrant extracellular matrix production, the overaccumulation of mature collagen, and excessive fibroblast proliferation and migration beyond the borders of the original wound site. This results in swelling, depigmentation, itchiness, and pain akin to a benign tumor. Although there are myriad treatments for the condition, most are invasive and exhibit a high recurrence rate. Previous studies have shown that rattlesnake venom stimulates apoptosis in the skin via multiple specific mechanisms, largely composed of extracellular matrix and its receptors' interactions. The goal of this study is to isolate and identify constituents of Crotalus ruber ruber (C.r.r.) venom that may attenuate keloid fibroblast proliferation. Snake venom was ultrafiltered and fractionated on a cationic column in a fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC) system followed by de-ionization through dialysis membranes. Normal fibroblasts and keloid samples were treated with fractionated venom and assayed for cell proliferation and collagen production, while venom was tested for its capacity to deplete collagen. Separated venom composition was described via MALDI-TOF and further qualified by specific activity studies. Our results suggest that C.r.r. venom contains novel peptides and may possess great therapeutic potential toward keloid scarring.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Year Degree Awarded