Invertebrate Survival Journal (Dec 2005)

Insights into brown spider and loxoscelism

  • MH Appel,
  • R Bertoni da Silveira,
  • W Gremski,
  • SS Veiga

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2, no. 2
pp. 152 – 158


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Loxosceles is a genus of cosmopolitan spiders comprising several species, and popularly knownas brown spiders or brown recluses. Brown spider bites can cause dermonecrotic lesions andsystemic reactions known as loxoscelism. Systemic effects are less common but may be severe oreven fatal in some patients. Systemic manifestations include intravascular hemolysis, disseminatedintravascular coagulation and acute renal failure. A rapid diagnosis and an understanding of thevenom’s molecular activity are crucial for satisfactory treatment. Mechanisms by which venoms exerttheir deleterious effects are under investigation, and searches are underway for diagnosticenvenomation assays. Molecular biology is being used to produce quantities of several of the mostimportant venom molecules and has contributed to the study and understanding of their mechanismsof action.