arthropod venoms


Summary: Venoms from animals of the phylum Arthropoda. Those most investigated are from scorpions and spiders of the class Arachnidae and from ant, bee, and wasp families of the Insecta order Hymenoptera. The venoms contain protein toxins, enzymes, and other bioactive substances and may be lethal to man.

Top Publications

  1. Schwartz E, Mourão C, Moreira K, Camargos T, Mortari M. Arthropod venoms: a vast arsenal of insecticidal neuropeptides. Biopolymers. 2012;98:385-405 pubmed
  2. Pimenta A, de Lima M. Small peptides, big world: biotechnological potential in neglected bioactive peptides from arthropod venoms. J Pept Sci. 2005;11:670-6 pubmed
    ..This article aims to review current knowledge on small biologically active peptides (<3 kDa) found in arthropod venoms and discuss their potentialities as new drug candidates or therapeutic lead compounds.
  3. Krishna M, Huissoon A. Clinical immunology review series: an approach to desensitization. Clin Exp Immunol. 2011;163:131-46 pubmed publisher
    ..A number of novel approaches and techniques are likely to change considerably the way in which we select and treat allergy patients in the coming decade, and these advances are previewed. ..
  4. Carrijo Carvalho L, Chudzinski Tavassi A. The venom of the Lonomia caterpillar: an overview. Toxicon. 2007;49:741-57 pubmed
    ..This paper presents an overview of the biochemical and biological properties of Lonomia caterpillar venom, discussing aspects of human accidents, experimental envenomation, toxins and targets and future perspectives. ..
  5. Korosec P, Erzen R, Silar M, Bajrovic N, Kopac P, Kosnik M. Basophil responsiveness in patients with insect sting allergies and negative venom-specific immunoglobulin E and skin prick test results. Clin Exp Allergy. 2009;39:1730-7 pubmed publisher
    ..Here we show that, in complex cases with inconclusive diagnostic results, the CD63 activation test could be particularly useful and more sensitive than intradermal skin testing. ..
  6. Catala M, Gomez A, Ollo B, Gurpegui M, Talens M. [Safety of hymenopteran venoms immunotherapy in a cluster schedule. A nursing perspective]. An Sist Sanit Navar. 2009;32:409-12 pubmed
    ..The study confirms that the model employed is safe with a low incidence of adverse reactions, 1.67% presented an exaggerated local reaction, 1.11% had an non-specific reaction and 1.11% a systemic reaction. ..
  7. Yildiz A, Biceroglu S, Yakut N, Bilir C, Akdemir R, Akilli A. Acute myocardial infarction in a young man caused by centipede sting. Emerg Med J. 2006;23:e30 pubmed
  8. Gelashvili D. [Natural toxins in inter- and intraspecies interaction of human being (elements of ethnotoxinology)]. Zh Obshch Biol. 2002;63:258-69 pubmed
  9. Brehler R, Grundmann S, Stöcker B. Cross-reacting carbohydrate determinants and hymenoptera venom allergy. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2013;13:360-4 pubmed publisher
    ..The introduction of component based diagnostic IgE testing improves the specificity of in-vitro tests if proteins devoid of CCD epitopes are used. ..

More Information


  1. Martínez Cañavate A, Tabar A, Eseverri J, Martin F, Pedemonte Marco C. An epidemiological survey of hymenoptera venom allergy in the Spanish paediatric population. Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2010;38:259-62 pubmed publisher
    ..The results of this survey show hypersensitivity reactions to hymenoptera venom to be infrequent in paediatrics, though with a strong impact upon patient quality of life. ..
  2. Levine M, Ruha A, Graeme K, Brooks D, Canning J, Curry S. Toxicology in the ICU: part 3: natural toxins. Chest. 2011;140:1357-1370 pubmed publisher
    ..The first article discussed the general approach to the patient, including laboratory testing; the second article focused on specific toxic agents, grouped into categories. ..
  3. da C B Gouveia A, da Silveira R, Nader H, Dietrich C, Gremski W, Veiga S. Identification and partial characterisation of hyaluronidases in Lonomia obliqua venom. Toxicon. 2005;45:403-10 pubmed
    ..The data provide experimental evidence of the presence of hyaluronidases in the L. obliqua venom, probably involved in the harmful effects of the venom. ..
  4. Cichocka Jarosz E, Tobiasz Adamczyk B, Brzyski P, Lis G, Jedynak Wasowicz U, Pietrzyk J, et al. [Health-related quality of life in children with Hymenoptera venom allergy treated with VIT and quality of life of their parents]. Przegl Lek. 2010;67:1243-8 pubmed
    ..3. Treatment duration influenced level of anxiety of parents. 4. Safety feeling acquired by parents at the beginning of treatment improves their quality of life in all dimensions. ..
  5. Brutlag A, Hovda L, Della Ripa M. Corneal ulceration in a dog following exposure to the defensive spray of a walkingstick insect (Anisomorpha spp.). J Vet Emerg Crit Care (San Antonio). 2011;21:382-6 pubmed publisher
  6. Pinto A, Berger M, Reck J, Terra R, Guimaraes J. Lonomia obliqua venom: In vivo effects and molecular aspects associated with the hemorrhagic syndrome. Toxicon. 2010;56:1103-12 pubmed publisher
    ..Herein studies from several authors which characterized the complex toxic-pharmacological actions of whole venom are reviewed...
  7. González de Olano D, Alvarez Twose I, Vega A, Orfao A, Escribano L. Venom immunotherapy in patients with mastocytosis and hymenoptera venom anaphylaxis. Immunotherapy. 2011;3:637-51 pubmed publisher
  8. Edlow J, McGillicuddy D. Tick paralysis. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2008;22:397-413, vii pubmed publisher
    ..Lastly, in an era of antibiotic toxicity, multidrug-resistant bacteria, antigen-switching viruses, and complex antibiotic regimens, the cure for tick paralysis-removing the tick-is as simple as it is gratifying. ..
  9. Caovilla J, Barros E. Efficacy of two different doses of antilonomic serum in the resolution of hemorrhagic syndrome resulting from envenoming by Lonomia obliqua caterpillars: a randomized controlled trial. Toxicon. 2004;43:811-8 pubmed
    ..SALon was effective and well tolerated. This study demonstrated that three vials are as effective as five vials of SALon for the treatment of envenoming by Lonomia caterpillars. ..
  10. Eberlein König B, Rakoski J, Behrendt H, Ring J. Use of CD63 expression as marker of in vitro basophil activation in identifying the culprit in insect venom allergy. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2004;14:10-6 pubmed
  11. Dubois A, van der Heide S. Basophil-activation tests in Hymenoptera allergy. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007;7:346-9 pubmed
    ..For this reason, this test currently has no established role in the diagnosis and management of patients with insect sting allergy. ..
  12. Stritzke A, Eng P. Age-dependent sting recurrence and outcome in immunotherapy-treated children with anaphylaxis to Hymenoptera venom. Clin Exp Allergy. 2013;43:950-5 pubmed publisher
    ..Venom immunotherapy induces long-term protection in most children: 84.4% of subjects with anaphylaxis to honey bee and 94.1% of those to Vespula venom were completely protected at re-stings. ..
  13. Cifuentes L, Vosseler S, Blank S, Seismann H, Pennino D, Darsow U, et al. Identification of Hymenoptera venom-allergic patients with negative specific IgE to venom extract by using recombinant allergens. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014;133:909-10 pubmed publisher
  14. Khurana T, Bridgewater J, Rabin R. Allergenic extracts to diagnose and treat sensitivity to insect venoms and inhaled allergens. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2017;118:531-536 pubmed publisher
    ..A variety of source materials are used by different manufacturers to prepare these extracts, which may result in qualitative differences that are not reflected in measurements of potency or protein concentration. ..
  15. Plunkett G, Jacobson R, Golden D. Hymenoptera venoms used to produce allergen extracts. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2017;118:649-654 pubmed publisher
    ..Clinical applications for diagnosis and treatment are affected by the integrity and stability of the allergens after processing and purification. ..
  16. Abdulkader R, Barbaro K, Barros E, Burdmann E. Nephrotoxicity of insect and spider venoms in Latin America. Semin Nephrol. 2008;28:373-82 pubmed publisher
    ..In this article the characteristics of these venoms, their probable mechanisms of renal damage, and the clinical picture of the accidents are reviewed. ..
  17. Finegold I. Issues in stinging insect allergy immunotherapy: a review. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;8:343-7 pubmed publisher
    ..The newest revision of the Immunotherapy Parameters provides much needed information concerning successful treatment with immunotherapy of Hymenoptera-sensitive patients. ..
  18. Müller U. Hymenoptera venom proteins and peptides for diagnosis and treatment of venom allergic patients. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2011;10:420-8 pubmed
    ..Most clinical studies suggest an antiinflammatory effect as well, but are uncontrolled. The only few controlled studies could not confirm efficacy of treatment with bee venom so far...
  19. Jandus P, Hausmann O, Haeberli G, Gentinetta T, Mueller U, Helbling A. Unpredicted adverse reaction to omalizumab. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2011;21:563-6 pubmed
    ..An interesting aspect of this case is the correlation of basophil activation test results with both clinical tolerability and VIT intolerance. ..
  20. Sano Martins I, Duarte A, Guerrero B, Moraes R, Barros E, Arocha Piñango C. Hemostatic disorders induced by skin contact with Lonomia obliqua (Lepidoptera, Saturniidae) caterpillars. Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo. 2017;59:e24 pubmed publisher
    ..Thus, consumptive disorder and reactive fibrinolysis are not proportional to mild coagulopathy. Furthermore, these patients recovered. The hemostatic parameters of most of the patients normalized between 96 and 120 h after the accident. ..
  21. Nakamatsu Y, Tanaka T. Venom of Euplectrus separatae causes hyperlipidemia by lysis of host fat body cells. J Insect Physiol. 2004;50:267-75 pubmed
  22. Da Silva G, Hyslop S, Alice da Cruz Höfling M. Lonomia obliqua caterpillar venom increases permeability of the blood-brain barrier in rats. Toxicon. 2004;44:625-34 pubmed
  23. Guerrero B, Arocha Piñango C, Pinto M, Muller C, Gil San Juan A, Amorim S, et al. Thrombolytic effect of lonomin V in a rabbit jugular vein thrombosis model. Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis. 2001;12:521-9 pubmed
    ..Factor XIII levels were significantly reduced in a dose-dependent manner only with LV. In conclusion, LV produces a dose-dependent thrombolysis in combination with a decrease in factor XIII activity. ..
  24. Lucena S, Guerrero B, Salazar A, Gil A, Arocha Piñango C. Degradation of extracellular matrix proteins (fibronectin, vitronectin and laminin) by serine-proteinases isolated from Lonomia achelous caterpillar hemolymph. Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis. 2006;17:427-35 pubmed
    ..achelous caterpillar. ..
  25. Hoffer V, Scheuerman O, Marcus N, Levy Y, Segal N, Lagovsky I, et al. Anaphylaxis in Israel: experience with 92 hospitalized children. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2011;22:172-7 pubmed publisher
    ..There were no fatalities. EpiPen was used by only one of the 16 patients with more than one episode of anaphylaxis, indicating that patient and parent education in the application of the EpiPen needs to be improved. ..
  26. Stoevesandt J, Hain J, Kerstan A, Trautmann A. Over- and underestimated parameters in severe Hymenoptera venom-induced anaphylaxis: cardiovascular medication and absence of urticaria/angioedema. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012;130:698-704.e1 pubmed publisher
    ..Study data do not provide evidence for an aggravation of sting-induced anaphylaxis by concurrent beta-blockade or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition. ..
  27. Motoyashiki T, Tu A, Azimov D, Ibragim K. Isolation of anticoagulant from the venom of tick, Boophilus calcaratus, from Uzbekistan. Thromb Res. 2003;110:235-41 pubmed
    ..Prolongation of fibrinogen clotting time (FCT) is highly suggestive of the antithrombin property of the purified component and its original venom. ..
  28. Arocha Piñango C, Guerrero B. [Hemorrhagic syndrome induced by caterpillars. Clinical and experimental studies. Review]. Invest Clin. 2003;44:155-63 pubmed
    ..It should be noted that, under the same conditions, injection of Lonomia obliqua prothrombin activator causes a DIC. ..
  29. Corrêa M, Siqueira Batista R, Gomes A, Franco Barbosa A, Verzola A, Oliveira F, et al. [Lonomia erucism in Teresópolis, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil: report of a probable case and review]. Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2004;37:418-21 pubmed
    ..Therapeutic measures consisting of hemotransfusion and hemodialysis were successful. Physiopathologic and clinical features of erucism by Lonomia are discussed. ..
  30. Sicherer S. Advances in anaphylaxis and hypersensitivity reactions to foods, drugs, and insect venom. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003;111:S829-34 pubmed
  31. Coudron T, Iqbal M, Rice W, Ellersieck M, Pinnell R. Mediated pathogenicity of the baculovirus AcMNPV by the venom from Euplectrus comstockii Howard (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae). Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 1999;124:231-40 pubmed
    ..In the presence of the venom, the final LD50 values were lower for fourth instar larvae than for third instar larvae. Surface response equations were developed to visualize the effect of the venom on the viruses caused by AcMNPV. ..
  32. Denion E, Petitbon J, Dalens P, Gerard M. [Eye anterior segment envenomation following a hymenopteran corneal sting]. J Fr Ophtalmol. 2007;30:108-9 pubmed
  33. González Morales L, Diego Garcia E, Segovia L, Gutiérrez M, Possani L. Venom from the centipede Scolopendra viridis Say: purification, gene cloning and phylogenetic analysis of a phospholipase A2. Toxicon. 2009;54:8-15 pubmed publisher
    ..To the best of our knowledge this is the first time that a phospholipase from this species of animal is fully characterized. We have named it Scol/Pla. ..
  34. White K, England R. Safety of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors while receiving venom immunotherapy. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008;101:426-30 pubmed publisher
    ..No patients taking an ACE-I experienced an SR to VIT while taking an ACE-I (P = .03). This study suggests that there is not an association between ACE-I use and increased frequency of SRs to venom immunotherapy. ..
  35. Watanabe A, Fonseca L, Galvão C, Kalil J, Castro F. Specific immunotherapy using Hymenoptera venom: systematic review. Sao Paulo Med J. 2010;128:30-7 pubmed
    ..On the other hand, the risk-benefit relation should always be assessed in each case. ..
  36. De Roodt A, Salomon O, Orduna T. [Accidents due to lepidoptera with special reference to Lonomia sp]. Medicina (B Aires). 2000;60:964-72 pubmed
    ..This brief actualization gives some biochemical, clinical and epidemiologic tools towards understanding human Lepidopterism, an uncommon medical problem in this country. ..
  37. Hamilton R, Macglashan D, Saini S. IgE antibody-specific activity in human allergic disease. Immunol Res. 2010;47:273-84 pubmed publisher
    ..We conclude that IgE-specific activity is an age-, IgE heterogeneity- and total serum IgE-dependent variable that influences the magnitude of effector cell mediator release, and by inference, ultimate allergic symptom induction. ..
  38. Armentia A. Adverse reactions to wine: think outside the bottle. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;8:266-9 pubmed publisher
    ..Sera from all the patients detected Hymenoptera venom antigens. We report the first cases of sensitization to venom antigens by the oral route. ..
  39. Kawachi T, Miyashita M, Nakagawa Y, Miyagawa H. Isolation and characterization of an anti-insect ?-toxin from the venom of the scorpion Isometrus maculatus. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2013;77:205-7 pubmed
    ..Injecting Im-3 into crickets induced paralysis, but no toxicity was apparent in mice after an intracerebroventricular injection. Im-3 shares sequence similarity to scorpion ?-toxins that specifically affect insect sodium channels. ..
  40. Guerrero A. Centipede bites in Hawai'i: a brief case report and review of the literature. Hawaii Med J. 2007;66:125-7 pubmed
    ..The author recommends that clinicians structure assessments of centipede bites around knowledge of serious potential complications and provide counseling on prevention of future attacks. ..
  41. Lucena S, Salazar A, Gil A, Arocha Piñango C, Guerrero B. The action of Lonomin V (Lonomia achelous) on fibronectin functional properties. Thromb Res. 2008;121:653-61 pubmed
    ..Due to its effect on adhesive proteins with concomitant impairment of some functional properties, Lonomin V might be useful for cellular adhesion studies involved in hemostasis such as platelet adhesion. ..
  42. Nordvall S, Johansson S, Ledford D, Lockey R. Allergens of the imported fire ant. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1988;82:567-76 pubmed
    ..It is a notable finding that these insect allergens thus were of a similar size as important aeroallergens. ..
  43. Champagne D. Antihemostatic strategies of blood-feeding arthropods. Curr Drug Targets Cardiovasc Haematol Disord. 2004;4:375-96 pubmed
    ..Finally a brief discussion of a new approach (sialomics) to the discovery of pharmacological agents in arthropod saliva is presented. ..
  44. Zannin M, Lourenço D, Motta G, Dalla Costa L, Grando M, Gamborgi G, et al. Blood coagulation and fibrinolytic factors in 105 patients with hemorrhagic syndrome caused by accidental contact with Lonomia obliqua caterpillar in Santa Catarina, southern Brazil. Thromb Haemost. 2003;89:355-64 pubmed
    ..The platelet count remained above 150 x 109 platelets/ml in 97% of cases. In summary, our results suggest that Lonomia obliqua envenoming is characterized by a consumption coagulopathy and secondary fibrinolysis. ..
  45. Akoum H, Tsicopoulos A, Vorng H, Wallaert B, Dessaint J, Joseph M, et al. Venom immunotherapy modulates interleukin-4 and interferon-gamma messenger RNA expression of peripheral T lymphocytes. Immunology. 1996;87:593-8 pubmed
    ..In conclusion, venom immunotherapy induced an altered cytokine mRNA pattern in allergen-stimulated T cells which was dissociated from the early changes of allergen-induced T-cell responsiveness. ..
  46. Krishna M, Ewan P, Diwakar L, Durham S, Frew A, Leech S, et al. Diagnosis and management of hymenoptera venom allergy: British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) guidelines. Clin Exp Allergy. 2011;41:1201-20 pubmed publisher
    ..There are also separate sections on children, elevated baseline tryptase and mastocytosis and mechanisms underlying VIT. Finally, we have made recommendations for potential areas of future research...
  47. Richardson M. The management of allergic reaction to venomous insect stings. Nurs Times. 2004;100:48-50 pubmed
    ..Every year in the UK between two and nine people die as a consequence of a severe allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting (The Anaphylaxis Campaign, 2004). ..
  48. Ratcliffe N, Mello C, Garcia E, Butt T, Azambuja P. Insect natural products and processes: new treatments for human disease. Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2011;41:747-69 pubmed publisher
    ..Finally, the many problems in developing these insect products as human therapeutic drugs are considered and the possible solutions emerging to these problems are described. ..
  49. Diaz J. The evolving global epidemiology, syndromic classification, management, and prevention of caterpillar envenoming. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2005;72:347-57 pubmed
    ..Since the 1970s, there have been increasing reports of mass dermatolgic, pulmonary, and systemic reactions following caterpillar encounters throughout the world. ..
  50. Gonzalez Quintela A, Gomez Rial J, Valcarcel C, Campos J, Sanz M, Linneberg A, et al. Immunoglobulin-E reactivity to wine glycoproteins in heavy drinkers. Alcohol. 2011;45:113-22 pubmed publisher
    ..Glycans and wine glycoprotein extracts can induce basophil activation in sensitized alcoholics. The clinical significance of these findings remains to be elucidated. ..
  51. Roers A, Hunzelmann N. Immunotherapy of hypersensitivity to hymenoptera venom. Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2005;5:1349-58 pubmed
    ..These include the use of new adjuvants, of recombinant and genetically engineered venom allergens, as well as vaccination with peptides. ..
  52. Gamborgi G, Metcalf E, Barros E. Acute renal failure provoked by toxin from caterpillars of the species Lonomia obliqua. Toxicon. 2006;47:68-74 pubmed
    ..3%) needed chronic dialysis. Envenoming by L. obliqua can be considered an important risk factor for the development of potentially fatal ARF, as well as for developing CRF. ..
  53. Hoffman D. Structural biology of allergens from stinging and biting insects. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;8:338-42 pubmed publisher
    ..The nature of venom crossreactivity and the B-cell and T-cell epitope structures of insect venom and salivary allergens are beginning to be elucidated. ..