Ok, I realize that this question may seem crazy at first glance. I would agree. Also, this does deal with a medical diagnosis, however, as I'm more concerned with the explanation behind it, I figured it fit in this category the best. Feel free to move this question (or suggest a better bit) if this is incorrect. On to the question...

Apparently (according to a friend of mine) this person woke up in the morning, could barely move, had a bite-like sore/mark and went to the hospital. Doctor said it was a brown recluse bite and as a result of the incident, this person now has Type 1 diabetes.

It really doesn't matter how (the result is still living with diabetes), but I'm fascinated by this incident and, being neither an expert on spider nor diabetes, I would like to know if this is plausible and, if so, how?

I realize that (1) approximately 80% of brown recluse bites are misdiagnosed and (2) I will never have access to their medical records, but let's operate under the assumption that this was as reported.

From what I've been able to find, in very rare cases, brown recluse venom can result in viscerocutaneous lexoscelism, which may lead to acute kidney failure... but through my research, I can't seem to link that to diabetes (the converse is easy, as diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney failure).

  • What (if anything) am I missing?
  • Is there another response to Lexosceles toxin that can lead to diabetes?
  • If this isn't possible, what could be an explanation that would cause diabetes but look like a brown recluse bite to a doctor?
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This may be better suited for skeptics SE. Wild speculation: antibodies against spider venom are cross reactive. $\endgroup$ – canadianer Sep 4 '15 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm...I was debating between the two, however, this seems like a more focused community, with more activity. I've added it to that SE too. Forgive me for my lack of biology knowledge (I'm a physics/CS guy), but what do you mean by "cross reactive"? $\endgroup$ – Altom Sep 4 '15 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ @canadianer I think it's better here though, because I wasn't able to find anything on google to support it, so it would be more of a question for a biologist/researcher.... just imo. $\endgroup$ – SolarLunix Sep 4 '15 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ Islet beta cells were shown to undergo apoptosis in a sphingomyelinase-dependent manner in the presence of amyloid peptides like IAPP, article here. Looks interesting, but I'm no expert! Would anyone like to weigh in? $\endgroup$ – CKM Sep 4 '15 at 23:26

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.