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Pulmonary involvement from animal toxins: the cellular mechanisms

Suthimon Thumtecho1*, Suchai Suteparuk1, Visith Sitprija2 [ + show more ]

J Venom Anim Toxins incl Trop Dis, 2023, 29: e20230026
Received: 21 April 2023 | Accepted: 11 August 2023 | Published online: 18 September 2023


Venomous animals and their venom have always been of human interest because, despite species differences, coevolution has made them capable of targeting key physiological components of our bodies. Respiratory failure from lung injury is one of the serious consequences of envenomation,  and the underlying mechanisms are rarely discussed. This review aims to demonstrate how toxins affect the pulmonary system through arious biological pathways. Herein, we propose the common underlying cellular mechanisms of toxin-induced lung injury: interference with normal cell function and integrity, disruption of normal vascular function, and provocation of excessive inflammation. Viperid snakebites are the leading cause of envenomation-induced lung injury, followed by other terrestrial venomous animals such as scorpions, spiders, and centipedes. Marine species, particularly jellyfish, can also inflict such injury. Common pulmonary manifestations include pulmonary edema, pulmonary hemorrhage, and exudative infiltration. Severe envenomation can result in acute respiratory distress syndrome. Pulmonary involvement suggests severe envenomation, thus recognizing these mechanisms and manifestations can aid physicians in providing appropriate treatment.

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