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Open AccessReview

Caterpillar Venom: A Health Hazard of the 21st Century

Toxicology and Pharmacology, KU Leuven, Campus Gasthuisberg, O & N2, Herestraat 49, P.O. Box 922, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Biomedicines 2020, 8(6), 143;
Received: 30 April 2020 / Revised: 22 May 2020 / Accepted: 24 May 2020 / Published: 30 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Venoms–Curse or Cure?)
Caterpillar envenomation is a global health threat in the 21st century. Every direct or indirect contact with the urticating hairs of a caterpillar results in clinical manifestations ranging from local dermatitis symptoms to potentially life-threatening systemic effects. This is mainly due to the action of bioactive components in the venom that interfere with targets in the human body. The problem is that doctors are limited to relieve symptoms, since an effective treatment is still lacking. Only for Lonomia species an effective antivenom does exist. The health and economical damage are an underestimated problem and will be even more of a concern in the future. For some caterpillar species, the venom composition has been the subject of investigation, while for many others it remains unknown. Moreover, the targets involved in the pathophysiology are poorly understood. This review aims to give an overview of the knowledge we have today on the venom composition of different caterpillar species along with their pharmacological targets. Epidemiology, mode of action, clinical time course and treatments are also addressed. Finally, we briefly discuss the future perspectives that may open the doors for future research in the world of caterpillar toxins to find an adequate treatment. View Full-Text
Keywords: caterpillar venom; venomics; pathophysiology; antivenom; treatments caterpillar venom; venomics; pathophysiology; antivenom; treatments
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MDPI and ACS Style

Seldeslachts, A.; Peigneur, S.; Tytgat, J. Caterpillar Venom: A Health Hazard of the 21st Century. Biomedicines 2020, 8, 143.

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