Palytoxin (PLTX), one the most potent marine toxins, and/or its analogs, have been identified in different marine organisms, such as Palythoa
soft corals, Ostreopsis
dinoflagellates, and Trichodesmium
cyanobacteria. Although the main concern for human health is PLTXs entrance in the human food chain, there is growing evidence of adverse effects associated with inhalational, cutaneous, and/or ocular exposure to aquarium soft corals contaminated by PLTXs or aquaria waters. Indeed, the number of case reports describing human poisonings after handling these cnidarians is continuously increasing. In general, the signs and symptoms involve mainly the respiratory (rhinorrhea and coughing), skeletomuscular (myalgia, weakness, spasms), cardiovascular (electrocardiogram alterations), gastrointestinal (nausea), and nervous (paresthesia, ataxia, tremors) systems or apparates. The widespread phenomenon, the entity of the signs and symptoms of poisoning and the lack of control in the trade of corals as aquaria decorative elements led to consider these poisonings an emerging sanitary problem. This review summarizes literature data on human poisonings due to, or ascribed to, PLTX-containing soft corals, focusing on the different PLTX congeners identified in these organisms and their toxic potential.
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