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Despite the nearly worldwide distribution of Lepidoptera, there are few species with clear documentation of adverse reactions in humans. Most syndromes caused by Lepidoptera are consequences of direct contact with the hairs or setae of caterpillars. In most instances, the adverse effects caused by moth and caterpillars are self-limited and the treatment is based on the removal of hairs, application of topical antipruritics and, in some cases, the use of oral antihistamines. However, in the case of envenoming by South American Lonomiaobliqua caterpillars, the antilonomic serum produced at Instituto Butantan in Brazil is the only effective treatment to re-establish the physiological coagulation parameters in poisoned patients and to abolish the complications seen in severe cases (e.g. consumptive coagulopathy, intracerebral hemorrhage, and acute renal failure). Many studies have been carried out to understand the pathophysiological mechanism of envenoming by L. obliqua. Several toxic principles were found in bristle extract and the hemolymph, probably related to the envenoming. An interesting fact is that some toxins from the venom usually have more than one function. With the advent of molecular biology techniques it has become possible to analyze these processes at a molecular level, thus giving rise to hypotheses on the molecular basis of envenomation. This review contributes to enhance our understanding of the dramatic alterations that hemorrhagic syndrome causes in patients, current treatment, and the diversity of the molecules involved in this pathology.
Biochemistry and Biophysics Laboratory, Butantan Institute, São Paulo, Brazil.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Pathophysiology of haemostasis and thrombosis
Lonomia obliqua (Walker, 1855) is a moth from the family Saturniidae, widely distributed in tropical rainforests of South America. In its larval stage (caterpillar) it is characterized by bristles tha...
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