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Toxins 2018, 10(6), 248;

Detection of Clostridium tetani Neurotoxins Inhibited In Vivo by Botulinum Antitoxin B: Potential for Misleading Mouse Test Results in Food Controls

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, 35020 Legnaro, Italy
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, 35131 Padua, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 May 2018 / Accepted: 13 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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The presence of botulinum neurotoxin-producing Clostridia (BPC) in food sources is a public health concern. In favorable environmental conditions, BPC can produce botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) outside or inside the vertebrate host, leading to intoxications or toxico-infectious forms of botulism, respectively. BPC in food are almost invariably detected either by PCR protocols targeted at the known neurotoxin-encoding genes, or by the mouse test to assay for the presence of BoNTs in the supernatants of enrichment broths inoculated with the tested food sample. The sample is considered positive for BPC when the supernatant contains toxic substances that are lethal to mice, heat-labile and neutralized in vivo by appropriate polyclonal antibodies raised against purified BoNTs of different serotypes. Here, we report the detection in a food sample of a Clostridium tetani strain that produces tetanus neurotoxins (TeNTs) with the above-mentioned characteristics: lethal for mice, heat-labile and neutralized by botulinum antitoxin type B. Notably, neutralization occurred with two different commercially available type B antitoxins, but not with type A, C, D, E and F antitoxins. Although TeNT and BoNT fold very similarly, evidence that antitoxin B antiserum can neutralize the neurotoxic effect of TeNT in vivo has not been documented before. The presence of C. tetani strains in food can produce misleading results in BPC detection using the mouse test. View Full-Text
Keywords: mouse test; Clostridium tetani; botulinum antitoxin; food safety mouse test; Clostridium tetani; botulinum antitoxin; food safety

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Bano, L.; Tonon, E.; Drigo, I.; Pirazzini, M.; Guolo, A.; Farina, G.; Agnoletti, F.; Montecucco, C. Detection of Clostridium tetani Neurotoxins Inhibited In Vivo by Botulinum Antitoxin B: Potential for Misleading Mouse Test Results in Food Controls. Toxins 2018, 10, 248.

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