Effect of Lonomia obliqua Venom on Human Neutrophils

Toxins (Basel). 2021 Dec 18;13(12):908. doi: 10.3390/toxins13120908.


The significant incidence of deforestation in South America culminates in the contact of humans with typical forests species. Among these species, one may highlight Lonomia obliqua caterpillar, which, when touched by humans, can poison them through their bristles. Therefore, better acknowledging the mechanisms involved in envenomation caused by Lonomia obliqua caterpillar bristle extract (LOCBE) may contribute to further treatments. Recently, we demonstrated that LOCBE induces a pro-inflammatory profile in endothelial cells; thus, we decided to investigate the effects of LOCBE on human polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN), which are the first leukocytes that migrate to the inflammatory focus. Our results showed that treatment with LOCBE induced PMN chemotaxis together with alterations in actin cytoskeleton and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) activation, favoring migration. Concurrently, LOCBE induced PMN adhesion to matrix proteins, such as collagen IV, fibronectin, and fibrinogen. Moreover, we observed that LOCBE attenuated PMN apoptosis and increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production together with nuclear factor kB (NF-κB) activation-a redox-sensitive transcription factor-as well as interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-8 release. We call attention to the ROS-dependent effect of LOCBE on increased cell migration once an antioxidant treatment reverted it. In summary, we report that LOCBE activates PMN, inducing pro-inflammatory responses modulated by ROS.

Keywords: Lonomia; neutrophil; reactive oxygen species; venom.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthropod Venoms / toxicity*
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Chemotaxis
  • Cricetinae
  • Humans
  • Integumentary System
  • Larva / physiology
  • Lepidoptera / physiology*
  • Neutrophils / drug effects*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Skin / drug effects


  • Arthropod Venoms
  • Reactive Oxygen Species