Animal venoms are a mixture of bioactive compounds produced as weapons and used primarily to immobilize and kill preys. As a result of the high potency and specificity for various physiological targets, many toxins from animal venoms have emerged as possible drugs for the medication of diverse disorders, including cardiovascular diseases. Captopril, which inhibits the angiotensinconverting enzyme (ACE), was the first successful venom-based drug and a notable example of rational drug design. Since captopril was developed, many studies have discovered novel bradykinin-potentiating peptides (BPPs) with actions on the cardiovascular system. Natriuretic peptides (NPs) have also been found in animal venoms and used as template to design new drugs with applications in cardiovascular diseases. Among the anti-arrhythmic peptides, GsMTx-4 was discovered to be a toxin that selectively inhibits the stretch-activated cation channels (SACs), which are involved in atrial fibrillation. The present review describes the main components isolated from animal venoms that act on the cardiovascular system and presents a brief summary of venomous animals and their venom apparatuses.

Keywords: Anti-arrhythmic, bradykinin-potentiating peptides, captopril, cardiovascular, hypotensive, natriuretic peptides, scorpion, snake, spider, toxin, venom.

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