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Toxins 2015, 7(2), 322-336; doi:10.3390/toxins7020322

Detection of Cyanotoxins, β-N-methylamino-L-alanine and Microcystins, from a Lake Surrounded by Cases of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

1
Institute for Ethnomedicine, PO Box 3464, Jackson, WY 83001, USA
2
Cheyenne Regional Medical Group, Cheyenne, WY 82001, USA
3
Department of Neurology, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA
4
Department of Biological Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Luis M. Botana
Received: 19 November 2014 / Revised: 12 December 2014 / Accepted: 21 January 2015 / Published: 29 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Collection Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [340 KB, uploaded 29 January 2015]   |  

Abstract

A cluster of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has been previously described to border Lake Mascoma in Enfield, NH, with an incidence of ALS approximating 25 times expected. We hypothesize a possible association with cyanobacterial blooms that can produce β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA), a neurotoxic amino acid implicated as a possible cause of ALS/PDC in Guam. Muscle, liver, and brain tissue samples from a Lake Mascoma carp, as well as filtered aerosol samples, were analyzed for microcystins (MC), free and protein-bound BMAA, and the BMAA isomers 2,4-diaminobutyric acid (DAB) and N-(2-aminoethyl)glycine (AEG). In carp brain, BMAA and DAB concentrations were 0.043 μg/g ± 0.02 SD and 0.01 μg/g ± 0.002 SD respectively. In carp liver and muscle, the BMAA concentrations were 1.28 μg/g and 1.27 μg/g respectively, and DAB was not detected. BMAA was detected in the air filters, as were the isomers DAB and AEG. These results demonstrate that a putative cause for ALS, BMAA, exists in an environment that has a documented cluster of ALS. Although cause and effect have not been demonstrated, our observations and measurements strengthen the association. View Full-Text
Keywords: β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA); amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); cyanobacteria; aerosols β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA); amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); cyanobacteria; aerosols
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Banack, S.A.; Caller, T.; Henegan, P.; Haney, J.; Murby, A.; Metcalf, J.S.; Powell, J.; Cox, P.A.; Stommel, E. Detection of Cyanotoxins, β-N-methylamino-L-alanine and Microcystins, from a Lake Surrounded by Cases of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Toxins 2015, 7, 322-336.

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