Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Premolis semirufa (Walker, 1856) Envenomation, disease affecting rubber tappers of the amazon: searching for caterpillar-bristles toxic components

Villas-Boas, Isadora Maria, Gonçalves-de-Andrade, Rute Maria, Pidde-Queiroz, Giselle, Assaf, Suely Lucia Muro Rais, Portaro, Fernanda C. V., Sant'Anna, Osvaldo A., Van Den Berg, Carmen Wilma and Tambourgi, Denise V. 2012. Premolis semirufa (Walker, 1856) Envenomation, disease affecting rubber tappers of the amazon: searching for caterpillar-bristles toxic components. Plos Neglected Tropical Diseases 6 (2) , e1531. 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001531

PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (6MB) | Preview


The caterpillar of the moth Premolis semirufa (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae), commonly named Pararama, is endemic of the Amazon basin. Accidental contact with these caterpillar bristles causes local symptoms such as intense heat, pain, edema and itching which last for three to seven days; however, after multiples contacts, it may induce joint-space narrowing and bone alteration, as well as degeneration of the articular cartilage and immobilization of the affected joints. Specific treatment for this disease does not exist, but corticosteroids are frequently administered. Despite of the public health hazard of Premolis semirufa caterpillar poisoning, little is known about the nature of the toxic components involved in the induction of the pathology. Methodology/Principal Findings Here we have investigated the biological and immunochemical characteristics of the caterpillar's bristles components. Analysis of the bristles extract in in vitro assays revealed the presence of proteolytic and hyaluronidase activities but no phospholipase A2 activity. In vivo, it was observed that the bristles extract is not lethal but can induce an intense inflammatory process, characterized by the presence of neutrophils in the paw tissues of injected mice. Furthermore, the bristles components stimulated an intense and specific antibody response but autoantibodies such as anti-DNA or anti-collagen type II were not detected. Conclusion The results suggest that Premolis semirufa caterpillar bristles secretion contains a mixture of different enzymes that may act together in the generation and development of the clinical manifestations of the Pararama envenomation. Moreover, the high immunogenicity of the caterpillar bristles components, as shown by the generation of high antibody titers, may also contribute to the induction and establishment of the inflammatory disease.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1935-2727
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:42

Citation Data

Cited 7 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics