Toxins2015, 7(4), 1030-1047; doi:10.3390/toxins7041030 (registering DOI) - published 27 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Phycotoxins are marine toxins produced by phytoplankton that can get accumulated in filter feeding shellfish. Human intoxication episodes occur due to contaminated seafood consumption. Okadaic acid (OA) and dynophysistoxins (DTXs) are phycotoxins responsible for a severe gastrointestinal syndrome called diarrheic shellfish poisoning (DSP). Yessotoxins (YTXs) are marine toxins initially included in the DSP class but currently classified as a separated group. Food safety authorities from several countries have regulated the content of DSPs and YTXs in shellfish to protect human health. In mice, OA and YTX have been associated with ultrastructural heart damage in vivo. Therefore, this study explored the potential of OA, DTX-1 and YTX to cause acute heart toxicity. Cardiotoxicity was evaluated in vitro by measuring hERG (human èter-a-go-go gene) channel activity and in vivousing electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings and cardiac damage biomarkers. The results demonstrated that these toxins do not exert acute effects on hERG channel activity. Additionally, in vivo experiments showed that these compounds do not alter cardiac biomarkers and ECG in rats acutely. Despite the ultrastructural damage to the heart reported for these toxins, no acute alterations of heart function have been detected in vivo, suggesting a functional compensation in the short term.
Toxins2015, 7(4), 1018-1029; doi:10.3390/toxins7041018 (registering DOI) - published 27 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The pharmacological activities and acute toxicity of the psilocin (PC) and dried residues of the crude extracts of psychotropic mushrooms were investigated in mice. The hallucinogenic substances were effectively isolated, by using methanol, from the species of Psilocybesemilanceata and Pholiotinacyanopus, that were collected in the north-east region of Poland. The chemical analysis of these extracts, which was performed by liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry detection (LC-MS), indicated the presence of psilocin and other hallucinogenic substances, including indolealkylamines and their phosphorylated analogues. When the pure psilocin or fungal extracts were used, slight differences in determined LD50 values were observed. However, the application of PC evoked the highest level of toxicity (293.07 mg/kg) compared to the activity of extracts from Ph. cyanopus and P. semilanceata,where the level of LD50 was 316.87 mg/kg and 324.37 mg/kg, respectively. Furthermore, the behavioral test, which considered the head-twitching response (HTR), was used to assess the effects of the studied psychotropic factors on the serotonergic system. Both, the fungal extracts and psilocin evoked characteristic serotoninergic effects depending on the dose administered to mice, acting as an agonist/partial agonist on the serotonergic system. A dose of 200 mg/kg 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) induced spontaneous head-twitching in mice (100% effect), as a result of the formation of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) in the brain. Compared to the activity of 5-HTP, the intraperitoneal administration of 1mg/kg of psilocin or hallucinogenic extracts of studied mushrooms (Ph. cyanopus and P. semilanceata) reduced the number of head-twitch responses of about 46% and 30%, respectively. In contrast, the administration of PC exhibited a reduction of about 60% in HTR numbers.
Abstract: Assumptions surrounding the kidney as a target for accumulation of ochratoxin A (OTA) are addressed because the contribution of the toxin in blood seems invariably to have been ignored. Adult rats were maintained for several weeks on toxin-contaminated feed. Using standard perfusion techniques, animals were anaesthetised, a blood sample was taken, one kidney was ligated, and the other kidney perfused with physiological saline in situ under normal blood pressure. Comparative analysis of OTA in pairs of kidneys showed marked reduction in the perfused organ in the range 37%–98% (mean 75%), demonstrating the general efficiency of perfusion supported also by histology, and implying a major role of blood in the total OTA content of kidney. Translation of OTA values in plasma to whole blood, and its predicted contribution as a 25% vascular compartment in kidney gave values similar to those in non-perfused kidneys. Thus, apparent ‘accumulation’ of OTA in kidney is due to binding to plasma proteins and long half-life in plasma. Attention should be re-focused on whole animal pharmacokinetics during chronic OTA exposure. Similar principles may be applied to DNA-OTA adducts which are now recognised as occurring in blood; application could also extend to other nephrotoxins such as aristolochic acid. Thus, at least, quantitative reassessment in urological tissues seems necessary in attributing adducts specifically as markers of potentially-tumourigenic exposure.
Abstract: Staphylococcal food poisoning represents the most prevalent foodborne intoxication worldwide. It is caused by oral intake of enterotoxins preformed by Staphylococcus aureus in food. The relevance of newly described enterotoxins in outbreaks of staphylococcal food poisoning is controversially discussed. Although the staphylococcal enterotoxins SEG, SEI, SEM, SEN, and SEO elicit emesis in a monkey feeding assay, there has been no conclusive proof of their emetic activity in humans. In this study, we provide further evidence suggesting that one of these enterotoxins or a combination of SEG, SEI, SEM, SEN, and SEO cause staphylococcal food poisoning. We investigated two outbreaks registered with the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, in which only Staphylococcus aureus strainsharboring the egc cluster, including seg, sei, sem, sen, and seo linked to typical signs of staphylococcal food poisoning were isolated. The outbreaks were caused by consumption of raw goat cheese and semi-hard goat cheese, and were linked to strains assigned to CC45 (agr type I) and CC9 (agr type II), respectively. These outbreaks provide further evidence that newly-described staphylococcal enterotoxins are likely to cause staphylococcal food poisoning in humans.
Abstract: Cholera, a waterborne acute diarrheal disease caused by Vibrio cholerae, remains prevalent in underdeveloped countries and is a serious health threat to those living in unsanitary conditions. The major virulence factor is cholera toxin (CT), which consists of two subunits: the A subunit (CTA) and the B subunit (CTB). CTB is a 55 kD homopentameric, non-toxic protein binding to the GM1 ganglioside on mammalian cells with high affinity. Currently, recombinantly produced CTB is used as a component of an internationally licensed oral cholera vaccine, as the protein induces potent humoral immunity that can neutralize CT in the gut. Additionally, recent studies have revealed that CTB administration leads to the induction of anti-inflammatory mechanisms in vivo. This review will cover the potential of CTB as an immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory agent. We will also summarize various recombinant expression systems available for recombinant CTB bioproduction.
Abstract: In order to recognize outstanding papers related to biotoxins and toxinology that have been published in Toxins, the Editorial Board established an annual “Toxins Best Paper Award”. We are pleased to announce the first “Toxins Best Paper Award” for 2015. Nominations were selected by the Editorial Board members, with all papers published in 2011 eligible for consideration. Reviews and original research articles were evaluated separately. Following review and voting by the Toxins Best Paper Award Committee, the following three papers have won Toxins Best Paper Awards for 2015:[...]