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Toxins, Volume 14, Issue 3 (March 2022) – 71 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Cylindrospermopsin (CYN) is a cyanotoxin classified as a cytotoxin. Recently, different studies have indicated the potential neurotoxic effect of CYN in different models. The present work studies the effects of CYN in murine primary cultures of neurons exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations (0–1 µg/mL CYN) after 12, 24, and 48 hours on neuronal viability and synaptic integrity. Indeed, CYN produced a concentration- and time-dependent decrease in cell viability and a significant damage at a synaptic level in primary cultures of neurons under these conditions of exposure. These data highlight the importance of studying the neurotoxic properties of this cyanotoxin in different experimental models. View this paper
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Article
A Novel SELEX Based on Immobilizing Libraries Enables Screening of Saxitoxin Aptamers for BLI Aptasensor Applications
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030228 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 865
Abstract
Saxitoxin (STX) is one of the potent marine biotoxins that has high rate of lethality. However, there are no effective treatments at present, and the existing detection methods need to be further explored because of ethical problems or technical limitations. In this work, [...] Read more.
Saxitoxin (STX) is one of the potent marine biotoxins that has high rate of lethality. However, there are no effective treatments at present, and the existing detection methods need to be further explored because of ethical problems or technical limitations. In this work, oligonucleotide aptamers toward STX were screened based on immobilizing libraries on Immobilized Metal-Chelate (IMC), such as Ni-NTA Sepharose, and the IMC-SELEX was conducted by the G-quadruplex library and the random library, respectively. Aptamer 45e (from the G-quadruplex library) and aptamer 75a were obtained after optimization, and aptamer 45e turned out to have a higher affinity toward STX. Furthermore, it was found that the hydrogen bonding and the van der Waals forces (VDW) played major roles in the high efficiency and specificity between STX and 45e by means of molecular docking and dynamics simulation. Based on this, aptamer 45e-1 with the Kd value of 19 nM was obtained by further optimization, which was then used to construct a simple, label-free and real-time optical BLI aptasensor for the detection of STX. This aptasensor showed good reproducibility and stability. In summary, with the advantages of screening aptamers of high efficiency and specificity toward the targets, the proposed IMC-SELEX provides a promising screening strategy for discovering aptamers, which could be used as the potential molecular recognition elements in the fields of biomedicine, food safety and environmental monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Biotoxins: Predicting and Cumulative Risk Assessment)
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Article
Effects of Dietary Ferulic Acid Supplementation on Hepatic Injuries in Tianfu Broilers Challenged with Lipopolysaccharide
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030227 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 685
Abstract
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is an endotoxin that can cause an imbalance between the oxidation and antioxidant defense systems and then induces hepatic damages. Ferulic acid (FA) has multiple biological functions including antibacterial and antioxidant activities; however, the effect of FA on lipopolysaccharide-induced hepatic injury [...] Read more.
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is an endotoxin that can cause an imbalance between the oxidation and antioxidant defense systems and then induces hepatic damages. Ferulic acid (FA) has multiple biological functions including antibacterial and antioxidant activities; however, the effect of FA on lipopolysaccharide-induced hepatic injury remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the mechanism of action of dietary Ferulic acid against Lipopolysaccharide-induced hepatic injuries in Tianfu broiler chickens. The results showed that supplementation of FA in daily feed increased body weight (BW) and decreased the feed conversion ratio (FCR) in LPS treatment broilers significantly (p < 0.05). Additionally, supplement of FA alleviated histological changes and apoptosis of hepatocytes in LPS treatment broilers. Supplement of FA significantly decreases the activities of ROS. Interestingly, the levels of antioxidant parameters including total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD), total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC), and glutathione (GSH) in LPS group were significantly increased by the FA supplementation (p < 0.05). Nevertheless, administration of LPS to broilers decreased the expressions of Nrf2, NQO1, SOD, GSH-Px, CAT and Bcl-2, whereas it increased the expressions of Bax and Caspase-3 (p < 0.05). Moreover, the expressions of Nrf2, NQO1, SOD, CAT, Bcl-2 were significantly upregulated and Caspase-3 were significantly downregulated in the FL group when compared to LPS group (p < 0.05). In conclusion, supplementation of FA in daily feed improves growth performance and alleviates LPS-induced oxidative stress, histopathologic changes, and apoptosis of hepatocytes in Tianfu broilers. Full article
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Article
Venomics Reveals a Non-Compartmentalised Venom Gland in the Early Diverged Vermivorous Conus distans
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030226 - 19 Mar 2022
Viewed by 730
Abstract
The defensive use of cone snail venom is hypothesised to have first arisen in ancestral worm-hunting snails and later repurposed in a compartmentalised venom duct to facilitate the dietary shift to molluscivory and piscivory. Consistent with its placement in a basal lineage, we [...] Read more.
The defensive use of cone snail venom is hypothesised to have first arisen in ancestral worm-hunting snails and later repurposed in a compartmentalised venom duct to facilitate the dietary shift to molluscivory and piscivory. Consistent with its placement in a basal lineage, we demonstrate that the C. distans venom gland lacked distinct compartmentalisation. Transcriptomics revealed C. distans expressed a wide range of structural classes, with inhibitory cysteine knot (ICK)-containing peptides dominating. To better understand the evolution of the venom gland compartmentalisation, we compared C. distans to C. planorbis, the earliest diverging species from which a defence-evoked venom has been obtained, and fish-hunting C. geographus from the Gastridium subgenus that injects distinct defensive and predatory venoms. These comparisons support the hypothesis that venom gland compartmentalisation arose in worm-hunting species and enabled repurposing of venom peptides to facilitate the dietary shift from vermivory to molluscivory and piscivory in more recently diverged cone snail lineages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Predatory and Defensive Venom Peptides)
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Article
A Potent Inhibitor of the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Blocks Disease and Morbidity Due to Toxigenic Vibrio cholerae
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030225 - 18 Mar 2022
Viewed by 966
Abstract
Vibrio cholerae uses cholera toxin (CT) to cause cholera, a severe diarrheal disease in humans that can lead to death within hours of the onset of symptoms. The catalytic activity of CT in target epithelial cells increases cellular levels of 3′,5′-cyclic AMP (cAMP), [...] Read more.
Vibrio cholerae uses cholera toxin (CT) to cause cholera, a severe diarrheal disease in humans that can lead to death within hours of the onset of symptoms. The catalytic activity of CT in target epithelial cells increases cellular levels of 3′,5′-cyclic AMP (cAMP), leading to the activation of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), an apical ion channel that transports chloride out of epithelial cells, resulting in an electrolyte imbalance in the intestinal lumen and massive water loss. Here we report that when administered perorally, benzopyrimido-pyrrolo-oxazinedione, (R)-BPO-27), a potent small molecule inhibitor of CFTR, blocked disease symptoms in a mouse model for acute diarrhea caused by toxigenic V. cholerae. We show that both (R)-BPO-27 and its racemic mixture, (R/S)-BPO-27, are able to protect mice from CT-dependent diarrheal disease and death. Furthermore, we show that, consistent with the ability of the compound to block the secretory diarrhea induced by CT, BPO-27 has a measurable effect on suppressing the gut replication and survival of V. cholerae, including a 2010 isolate from Haiti that is representative of the most predominant ‘variant strains’ that are causing epidemic and pandemic cholera worldwide. Our results suggest that BPO-27 should advance to human Phase I studies that could further address its safety and efficacy as therapeutic or preventative drug intervention for diarrheal syndromes, including cholera, that are mediated by CFTR channel activation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Toxins of Pathogenic Vibrio Species)
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Article
Screening of Pig-Derived Zearalenone-Degrading Bacteria through the Zearalenone Challenge Model, and Their Degradation Characteristics
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030224 - 18 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 734
Abstract
Zearalenone (ZEN) is widely found in food and feed. Its cytotoxicity, reproductive toxicity, genetic toxicity, immunotoxicity and hepatorenal toxicity have serious impacts on human and animal health. In order to help animals avoid ZEN poisoning in feed, ZEN-degrading bacterial strains were screened from [...] Read more.
Zearalenone (ZEN) is widely found in food and feed. Its cytotoxicity, reproductive toxicity, genetic toxicity, immunotoxicity and hepatorenal toxicity have serious impacts on human and animal health. In order to help animals avoid ZEN poisoning in feed, ZEN-degrading bacterial strains were screened from fecal samples through a zearalenone challenge pig model, and their degradation characteristics were researched. Through the optimization of parameters such as the culture time, pH value, temperature, and strain concentration, the optimal conditions for the ZEN-degrading ability of these strains were preliminarily determined, and the active site of the ZEN degradation was explored. In this study, three strains (SY-3, SY-14, SY-20) with high ZEN degradation capacities were obtained. SY-3 was identified as Proteus mirabilis, and its main degrading component was the supernatant. SY-14 and SY-20 were identified as Bacillus subtilis. Their main degrading components were the intracellular fluid of SY-14, and the intracellular fluid and cell wall of SY-20. The above results showed that the ZEN challenge model was an effective way to screen ZEN-degrading bacteria. Full article
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Article
Effect of Hemocoagulase on the Prevention of Bleeding after Percutaneous Renal Biopsy
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030223 - 18 Mar 2022
Viewed by 601
Abstract
A percutaneous renal biopsy is an essential tool for the diagnosis of various renal diseases; however, post-biopsy bleeding is a major complication. Hemocoagulase is a detoxified and purified snake venom enzyme that is widely used to prevent post-procedural bleeding. In this study, we [...] Read more.
A percutaneous renal biopsy is an essential tool for the diagnosis of various renal diseases; however, post-biopsy bleeding is a major complication. Hemocoagulase is a detoxified and purified snake venom enzyme that is widely used to prevent post-procedural bleeding. In this study, we retrospectively analyzed the effect of hemocoagulase on post-renal biopsy bleeding. We included 221 patients who underwent percutaneous renal biopsy between April 2017 and December 2020 and analyzed post-renal biopsy hemoglobin (Hb) decline in patients who were administered a periprocedural hemocoagulase injection. After the renal biopsy, the mean Hb decrease in the entire patient cohort was 0.33 ± 0.84 g/dL. Periprocedural hemocoagulase injection lowered the Hb decline post-renal biopsy (0.50 ± 0.87 vs. 0.23 ± 0.80 g/dL, p = 0.0204). The propensity-matched cohort was also adjusted for factors influencing postprocedural bleeding; periprocedural hemocoagulase injection reduced the Hb decline post-renal biopsy (0.56 ± 0.89 vs. 0.17 ± 0.74 g/dL, p = 0.006). There were no adverse events (e.g., thrombosis and anaphylactic shock) due to hemocoagulase. Our study demonstrated the beneficial effect of hemocoagulase on post-renal biopsy Hb decline, suggesting its clinical value in preventing post-renal biopsy bleeding. Full article
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Article
A Novel In Planta Enrichment Method Employing Fusarium graminearum-Infected Wheat Spikes to Select for Competitive Biocontrol Bacteria
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030222 - 17 Mar 2022
Viewed by 885
Abstract
This work introduces an alternative workflow for the discovery of novel bacterial biocontrol agents in wheat against Fusarium head blight (FHB). Unlike the mass testing of isolate collections, we started from a diverse inoculum by extracting microbiomes from ears of field-grown plants at [...] Read more.
This work introduces an alternative workflow for the discovery of novel bacterial biocontrol agents in wheat against Fusarium head blight (FHB). Unlike the mass testing of isolate collections, we started from a diverse inoculum by extracting microbiomes from ears of field-grown plants at grain filling stage. Four distinct microbial communities were generated which were exposed to 3 14-day culture-independent experimental enrichments on detached wheat spikes infected with F. graminearum PH1. We found that one bacterial community reduced infection symptoms after 3 cycles, which was chosen to subsequently isolate bacteria through limiting dilution. All 94 isolates were tested in an in vitro and in planta assay, and a selection of 14 isolates was further tested on detached ears. The results seem to indicate that our enrichment approach resulted in bacteria with different modes-of-action in regard to FHB control. Erwinia persicina isolate C3 showed a significant reduction in disease severity (Fv/Fm), and Erwinia persicina C3 and Pseudomonas sp. B3 showed a significant reduction in fungal biomass (cGFP). However, the mycotoxin analysis of both these treatments showed no reduction in DON levels. Nevertheless, Pantoea ananatis H3 and H11 and Erwinia persicina H2 were able to reduce DON concentrations by more than 50%, although these effects were not statistically significant. Lastly, Erwinia persicina H2 also showed a significantly greater glucosylation of DON to the less phytotoxic DON-3G. The bacterial genera isolated through the enrichment cycles have been reported to dominate microbial communities that develop in open habitats, showing strong indications that the isolated bacteria can reduce the infection pressure of F. graminearum on the spike phyllosphere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from the 15th European Fusarium Seminar)
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Review
What If Not All Metabolites from the Uremic Toxin Generating Pathways Are Toxic? A Hypothesis
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030221 - 17 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 995
Abstract
The topic of uremic toxicity has received broad attention from the nephrological community over the past few decades. An aspect that is much less often considered is the possibility that the metabolic pathways that generate uremic toxins also may produce molecules that benefit [...] Read more.
The topic of uremic toxicity has received broad attention from the nephrological community over the past few decades. An aspect that is much less often considered is the possibility that the metabolic pathways that generate uremic toxins also may produce molecules that benefit body functions. Here, we discuss this dualism based on the example of tryptophan-derived metabolites, which comprise elements that are mainly toxic, such as indoxyl sulfate, kynurenine and kynurenic acid, but also beneficial compounds, such as indole, melatonin and indole-3-propionic acid, and ambivalent (beneficial for some aspects and harmful for others) compounds such as serotonin. This dualism can also be perceived at the level of the main receptor of the tryptophan-derived metabolites, the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), which has also been linked to both harm and benefit. We hypothesize that these beneficial effects are the reason why uremic toxin generation remained preserved throughout evolution. This duality is also not unique for the tryptophan-derived metabolites, and in this broader context we discuss the remote sensing and signaling theory (RSST). The RSST proposes that transporters (e.g., organic anion transporter 1—OAT1; ATP-binding cassette transporter G—ABCG2) and drug metabolizing enzymes form a large network of proteins interacting to promote small molecule remote communication at the inter-organ (e.g., gut–liver–heart–brain–kidney) and inter-organismal (e.g., gut microbe–host) levels. These small molecules include gut microbe-derived uremic toxins as well as beneficial molecules such as those discussed here. We emphasize that this positive side of uremic metabolite production needs more attention, and that this dualism especially needs to be considered when assessing and conceiving of therapeutic interventions. These homeostatic considerations are central to the RSST and suggest that interventions be aimed at preserving or restoring the balance between positive and negative components rather than eliminating them all without distinction. Full article
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Article
Development of a Highly Sensitive and Specific Monoclonal Antibody Based on Indirect Competitive Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay for the Determination of Zearalenone in Food and Feed Samples
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030220 - 17 Mar 2022
Viewed by 675
Abstract
Zearalenone (ZEN) contamination in food and feed is prevalent and has severe effects on humans and animals post-consumption. Therefore, a sensitive, specific, rapid, and reliable method for detecting a single residue of ZEN is necessary. This study aimed to establish a highly sensitive [...] Read more.
Zearalenone (ZEN) contamination in food and feed is prevalent and has severe effects on humans and animals post-consumption. Therefore, a sensitive, specific, rapid, and reliable method for detecting a single residue of ZEN is necessary. This study aimed to establish a highly sensitive and specific ZEN monoclonal antibody (mAb) and an indirect competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (icELISA) for the detection of ZEN residues in food and feed. The immunogen ZEN-BSA was synthesized via the amino glutaraldehyde (AGA) and amino diazotization (AD) methods and identified using 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR), a high-resolution mass spectrometer (HRMS), and an ultraviolet spectrometer (UV). The coating antigens ZEN-OVA were synthesized via the oxime active ester (OAE), formaldehyde (FA), 1,4-butanediol diglycidyl ether (BDE), AGA, and AD methods. These methods were used to screen the best antibody/antigen combination of a heterologous icELISA. Balb/c mice were immunized with a low ZEN-BSA dose at long intervals and multiple sites. Suitable cell fusion mice and positive hybridoma cell lines were screened using a homologous indirect non-competitive ELISA (inELISA) and an icELISA. The ZEN mAbs were prepared by inducing ascites in vivo. The immunological characteristics of ZEN mAbs were then assessed. The standard curves of the icELISA for ZEN were constructed under optimal experimental conditions, and the performance of the icELISA was validated. The two ZEN-BSA immunogens (conjugation ratios, 11.6:1 (AGA) and 9.2:1 (AD)) were successfully synthesized. Four hybridoma cell lines (2B6, 4D9, 1A10, and 4G8) were filtered, of which 2B6 had the best sensitivity and specificity. The mAb 2B6-based icELISA was then developed. The limit of detection (LOD), the 50% inhibitive concentration (IC50), and the linear working range (IC20 to IC80) values of the icELISA were 0.76 μg/L, 8.69 μg/L, and 0.92–82.24 μg/L, respectively. The cross-reactivity (CR) of the icELISA with the other five analogs of ZEN was below 5%. Three samples were spiked with different concentrations of ZEN and detected using the icELISA. The average intra-assay recoveries, inter-assay recoveries, intra-assay coefficients of variations (CVs), and inter-assay CVs were 93.48–99.48%, 94.18–96.13%, 12.55–12.98%, and 12.53–13.58%, respectively. The icELISA was used to detect ZEN in various samples. The results were confirmed using high-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) (correlation coefficient, 0.984). The proposed icELISA was highly sensitive, specific, rapid, and reliable for the detection of ZEN in food and feed samples. Full article
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Article
Scorpion Species with Smaller Body Sizes and Narrower Chelae Have the Highest Venom Potency
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030219 - 17 Mar 2022
Viewed by 2709
Abstract
Scorpionism is a global health concern, with an estimation of over one million annual envenomation cases. Despite this, little is known regarding the drivers of scorpion venom potency. One widely held view is that smaller scorpions with less-developed chelae possess the most potent [...] Read more.
Scorpionism is a global health concern, with an estimation of over one million annual envenomation cases. Despite this, little is known regarding the drivers of scorpion venom potency. One widely held view is that smaller scorpions with less-developed chelae possess the most potent venoms. While this perception is often used as a guide for medical intervention, it has yet to be tested in a formal comparative framework. Here, we use a phylogenetic comparative analysis of 36 scorpion species to test whether scorpion venom potency, as measured using LD50, is related to scorpion body size and morphology. We found a positive relationship between LD50 and scorpion total length, supporting the perception that smaller scorpions possess more potent venoms. We also found that, independent of body size, scorpion species with long narrow chelae have higher venom potencies compared to species with more robust chelae. These results not only support the general perception of scorpion morphology and potency, but also the presence of an ecology trade-off with scorpions either selected for well-developed chelae or more potent venoms. Testing the patterns of venom variations in scorpions aids both our ecological understanding and our ability to address the global health burden of scorpionism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drivers of Venom Potency across the Animal Kingdom)
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Article
Mesostructured Silicas as Cation-Exchange Sorbents in Packed or Dispersive Solid Phase Extraction for the Determination of Tropane Alkaloids in Culinary Aromatics Herbs by HPLC-MS/MS
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030218 - 17 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 689
Abstract
In this work, Hexagonal Mesoporous Silica (HMS) and Santa Barbara Amorphous-15 (SBA-15) mesostructured silicas were synthesized and functionalized with sulfonic acid groups. The materials (HMS-SO3 and SBA-15-SO3) were evaluated as strong cation exchange sorbents for sample extract clean-up, [...] Read more.
In this work, Hexagonal Mesoporous Silica (HMS) and Santa Barbara Amorphous-15 (SBA-15) mesostructured silicas were synthesized and functionalized with sulfonic acid groups. The materials (HMS-SO3 and SBA-15-SO3) were evaluated as strong cation exchange sorbents for sample extract clean-up, by solid phase extraction (SPE) and dispersive solid phase extraction, to determine atropine (At) and scopolamine (Sc) in commercial culinary aromatic herbs. Under optimized conditions, 0.25 g of sample was subject to solid–liquid extraction with acidified water (pH 1.0), and good recovery percentages were achieved for At and Sc using 75 mg of HMS-SO3 in SPE as the clean-up stage, prior to their determination by HPLC-MS/MS. The proposed method was validated in a thyme sample showing recoveries in the range of 70–92%, good linearity (R2 > 0.999), adequate precision (RSD ≤ 14%) and low limits (MDL 0.8–2.2 µg/kg and MQL 2.6–7.2 µg/kg for both analytes). Sixteen aromatic herbs samples (dried thyme, basil and coriander leaves) were analysed and At was found in fourteen samples over an interval of <5–42 μg/kg, whereas Sc was found in three of the sixteen samples studied (between <5–34 μg/kg). The amount of At and Sc found in some analysed samples confirms the importance of setting maximum levels of At and Sc in culinary aromatic herbs. Full article
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Review
Mycotoxin Metabolism by Edible Insects
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030217 - 17 Mar 2022
Viewed by 793
Abstract
Mycotoxins are a group of toxic secondary metabolites produced in the food chain by fungi through the infection of crops both before and after harvest. Mycotoxins are one of the most important food safety concerns due to their severe poisonous and carcinogenic effects [...] Read more.
Mycotoxins are a group of toxic secondary metabolites produced in the food chain by fungi through the infection of crops both before and after harvest. Mycotoxins are one of the most important food safety concerns due to their severe poisonous and carcinogenic effects on humans and animals upon ingestion. In the last decade, insects have received wide attention as a highly nutritious, efficient and sustainable source of animal-derived protein and caloric energy for feed and food purposes. Many insects have been used to convert food waste into animal feed. As food waste might contain mycotoxins, research has been conducted on the metabolism and detoxification of mycotoxins by edible insects. The mycotoxins that have been studied include aflatoxins, fumonisins, zearalenone (ZEN), vomitoxin or deoxynivalenol (DON), and ochratoxins (OTAs). Aflatoxin metabolism is proved through the production of hydroxylated metabolites by NADPH-dependent reductases and hydroxylases by different insects. ZEN can be metabolized into α- and β-zearalenol. Three DON metabolites, 3-, 15-acetyl-DON, and DON-3-glucoside, have been identified in the insect DON metabolites. Unfortunately, the resulting metabolites, involved enzymes, and detoxification mechanisms of OTAs and fumonisins within insects have yet to be identified. Previous studies have been focused on the insect tolerance to mycotoxins and the produced metabolites; further research needs to be conducted to understand the exact enzymes and pathways that are involved. Full article
Article
Okadaic Acid Depuration from the Cockle Cerastoderma edule
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030216 - 16 Mar 2022
Viewed by 610
Abstract
The cockle Cerastoderma edule is a commercially important species in many European Countries. It can accumulate okadaic acid (OA) and other toxins in its group, which makes it unsuitable for human consumption, producing harvesting bans to avoid intoxications. The duration of those bans [...] Read more.
The cockle Cerastoderma edule is a commercially important species in many European Countries. It can accumulate okadaic acid (OA) and other toxins in its group, which makes it unsuitable for human consumption, producing harvesting bans to avoid intoxications. The duration of those bans depends in part on the depuration kinetics of the toxin in this species. In this work, this kinetics was studied by means of fitting different models to depuration data experimentally obtained, using naturally contaminated cockles. Cockles depurated OA faster than most other bivalve species studied. Models that include Michaelis-Menten kinetics describe the depuration better than those using a first order exponential decrease to describe the first (or the only) compartment. One-compartment models were not able to describe the final part of the depuration curve, in which OA was depurated very slowly. Therefore, two-compartment models were needed. Esters were depurated at a much faster rate than the free form of the toxin; however, no significant esterification was detected during the process. The slow depuration rate suggests that other bivalve species could be used as sentinels to monitor cockle populations, but caution should be taken when toxin concentrations are very high. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
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Article
Assessment of Common Cyanotoxins in Cyanobacteria of Biological Loess Crusts
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030215 - 16 Mar 2022
Viewed by 792
Abstract
Cyanotoxins are a diverse group of bioactive compounds produced by cyanobacteria that have adverse effects on human and animal health. While the phenomenon of cyanotoxin production in aquatic environments is well studied, research on cyanotoxins in terrestrial environments, where cyanobacteria abundantly occur in [...] Read more.
Cyanotoxins are a diverse group of bioactive compounds produced by cyanobacteria that have adverse effects on human and animal health. While the phenomenon of cyanotoxin production in aquatic environments is well studied, research on cyanotoxins in terrestrial environments, where cyanobacteria abundantly occur in biocrusts, is still in its infancy. Here, we investigated the potential cyanotoxin production in cyanobacteria-dominated biological loess crusts (BLCs) from three different regions (China, Iran, and Serbia) and in cyanobacterial cultures isolated from the BLCs. The presence of cyanotoxins microcystins, cylindrospermopsin, saxitoxins, and β-N-methylamino-L-alanine was analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method, while the presence of cyanotoxin-encoding genes (mcyE, cyrJ, sxtA, sxtG, sxtS, and anaC) was investigated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method. We could not detect any of the targeted cyanotoxins in the biocrusts or the cyanobacterial cultures, nor could we amplify any cyanotoxin-encoding genes in the cyanobacterial strains. The results are discussed in terms of the biological role of cyanotoxins, the application of cyanobacteria in land restoration programs, and the use of cyanotoxins as biosignatures of cyanobacterial populations in loess research. The article highlights the need to extend the field of research on cyanobacteria and cyanotoxin production to terrestrial environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Toxicology of Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins)
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Article
Warming and Salt Intrusion Affect Microcystin Production in Tropical Bloom-Forming Microcystis
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030214 - 16 Mar 2022
Viewed by 689
Abstract
The Vietnamese Mekong Delta is predicted to be one of the regions most impacted by climate change, causing increased temperature and salinity in inland waters. We hypothesized that the increase in temperature and salinity may impact the microcystin (MC) production of two Microcystis [...] Read more.
The Vietnamese Mekong Delta is predicted to be one of the regions most impacted by climate change, causing increased temperature and salinity in inland waters. We hypothesized that the increase in temperature and salinity may impact the microcystin (MC) production of two Microcystis strains isolated in this region from a freshwater pond (strain MBC) and a brackish water pond (strain MTV). The Microcystis strains were grown at low (27 °C), medium (31 °C), high (35 °C) and extremely high (37 °C) temperature in flat photobioreactors (Algaemist). At each temperature, when cultures reached a stable state, sea salt was added to increase salinity to 4‰, 8‰, 12‰ and 16‰. MC concentrations and cell quota were reduced at high and extremely high temperatures. Salinity, in general, had comparable effects on MC concentrations and quota. At a salinity of 4‰ and 8‰, concentrations of MC per mL of culture and MC cell quota (based on chlorophyll, dry-weight and particle counts) were higher than at 0.5‰, while at the highest salinities (12‰ and 16‰) these were strongly reduced. Strain MBC produced five MC variants of which MC-RR and MC-LR were most abundant, followed by MC-YR and relatively low amounts of demethylated variants dmMC-RR and dmMC-LR. In strain MTV, MC-RR was most abundant, with traces of MC-YR and dmMC-RR only in cultures grown at 16‰ salinity. Overall, higher temperature led to lower MC concentrations and cell quota, low salinity seemed to promote MC production and high salinity reduced MC production. Hence, increased temperature and higher salinity could lead to less toxic Microcystis, but since these conditions might favour Microcystis over other competitors, the overall biomass gain could offset a lower toxicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins in Waters)
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Review
Determination of Cyanotoxins and Prymnesins in Water, Fish Tissue, and Other Matrices: A Review
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030213 - 16 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 971
Abstract
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) and their toxins are a significant and continuing threat to aquatic life in freshwater, estuarine, and coastal water ecosystems. Scientific understanding of the impacts of HABs on aquatic ecosystems has been hampered, in part, by limitations in the methodologies [...] Read more.
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) and their toxins are a significant and continuing threat to aquatic life in freshwater, estuarine, and coastal water ecosystems. Scientific understanding of the impacts of HABs on aquatic ecosystems has been hampered, in part, by limitations in the methodologies to measure cyanotoxins in complex matrices. This literature review discusses the methodologies currently used to measure the most commonly found freshwater cyanotoxins and prymnesins in various matrices and to assess their advantages and limitations. Identifying and quantifying cyanotoxins in surface waters, fish tissue, organs, and other matrices are crucial for risk assessment and for ensuring quality of food and water for consumption and recreational uses. This paper also summarizes currently available tissue extraction, preparation, and detection methods mentioned in previous studies that have quantified toxins in complex matrices. The structural diversity and complexity of many cyanobacterial and algal metabolites further impede accurate quantitation and structural confirmation for various cyanotoxins. Liquid chromatography–triple quadrupole mass spectrometer (LC–MS/MS) to enhance the sensitivity and selectivity of toxin analysis has become an essential tool for cyanotoxin detection and can potentially be used for the concurrent analysis of multiple toxins. Full article
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Communication
Analysis of Active Compounds Using Target Protein Cofilin―Cucurbitacins in Cytotoxic Plant Bryonia cretica
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030212 - 16 Mar 2022
Viewed by 637
Abstract
We examined a two-step target protein binding strategy that uses cofilin as the target protein to analyze the active constituents in Bryonia cretica. In the first step, we prepared the target protein, and used it to analyze the compounds binding to it [...] Read more.
We examined a two-step target protein binding strategy that uses cofilin as the target protein to analyze the active constituents in Bryonia cretica. In the first step, we prepared the target protein, and used it to analyze the compounds binding to it in the second step. We used the methanolic extract of B. cretica as a library of possible active compounds. We conducted LC–MS analysis using information from our previous study. The peaks in the HPLC profile were identified as cucurbitacin D, isocucurbitacin D, and cucurbitacin I. As far as we know, there is no known study of the activity of isocucurbitacin D in this research field. Therefore, we examined the effects of isocucurbitacin D on cell proliferation and cofilin protein in human fibrosarcoma cell line HT1080 to confirm the effectiveness of this strategy. The cytotoxicity assay, the fibrous/globular actin ratio assay, and the immunoblotting analysis revealed that isocucurbitacin D showed a cytotoxic effect with disruption of target protein cofilin. The target protein binding strategy is a direct and straightforward method for finding new drug seeds from crude sources, such as natural plant extracts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research for the Potential Use of Plant Toxins)
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Article
Protective Effects of Taraxasterol against Deoxynivalenol-Induced Damage to Bovine Mammary Epithelial Cells
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030211 - 15 Mar 2022
Viewed by 708
Abstract
Deoxynivalenol (DON), a mycotoxin produced by Fusarium graminearum, is one of the most prevalent contaminants in livestock feed and causes very large losses to animal husbandry every year. Taraxasterol, isolated from Taraxacum officinale, has anti-inflammatory, antioxidative stress, and antitumor effects. In [...] Read more.
Deoxynivalenol (DON), a mycotoxin produced by Fusarium graminearum, is one of the most prevalent contaminants in livestock feed and causes very large losses to animal husbandry every year. Taraxasterol, isolated from Taraxacum officinale, has anti-inflammatory, antioxidative stress, and antitumor effects. In the present study, bovine mammary epithelial cells (MAC-T) were used as a model, and different concentrations of taraxasterol (0, 1, 5, 10, and 20 μg/mL) were used to protect against DON-induced cell damage. The results showed that taraxasterol at a concentration of 10 μg/mL significantly increased cell viability. Analysis of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels indicated that taraxasterol substantially decreased LDH release caused by DON. Taraxasterol effectively alleviated the depletion of glutathione (GSH), the increase in the lipid peroxidation of malondialdehyde (MDA), the reduction in total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD) activity, and the decrease in total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC) induced by DON. The results further showed that taraxasterol reduced the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Taraxasterol was found to relieve endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress by suppressing the expression of glucose-regulated protein 78 kDa (GRP78), activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6), activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) and the transcription factor C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), and reducing cell apoptosis by suppressing the expression of caspase-3 and Bcl2-associated X (BAX) and upregulating the expression of the antiapoptotic protein B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2). Our research results indicate that taraxasterol could alleviate DON-induced damage to MAC-T cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Feedborne Mycotoxins on Animal Health 2.0)
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Review
Effects of an SGLT Inhibitor on the Production, Toxicity, and Elimination of Gut-Derived Uremic Toxins: A Call for Additional Evidence
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030210 - 15 Mar 2022
Viewed by 665
Abstract
Sodium–glucose cotransporter (SGLT) inhibitors are a class of oral hypoglycemic agents, which, in recent years, have been shown to improve renal and cardiovascular outcomes in patients with diabetic and non-diabetic chronic kidney disease. There remains considerable debate regarding the potential glucose-independent mechanisms by [...] Read more.
Sodium–glucose cotransporter (SGLT) inhibitors are a class of oral hypoglycemic agents, which, in recent years, have been shown to improve renal and cardiovascular outcomes in patients with diabetic and non-diabetic chronic kidney disease. There remains considerable debate regarding the potential glucose-independent mechanisms by which these benefits are conferred. SGLT inhibitors, to a variable extent, impair small intestinal glucose absorption, facilitating the delivery of glucose into the colon. This suppresses protein fermentation, and thus the generation of uremic toxins such as phenols and indoles. It is acknowledged that such a shift in gut microbial metabolism yields health benefits for the host. SGLT inhibition, in addition, may be hypothesized to foster the renal clearance of protein-bound uremic toxins. Altered generation and elimination of uremic toxins may be in the causal pathway between SGLT inhibition and improved cardiometabolic health. Present review calls for additional research. Full article
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Article
First Report on Microcystin-LR Occurrence in Water Reservoirs of Eastern Cuba, and Environmental Trigger Factors
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030209 - 15 Mar 2022
Viewed by 650
Abstract
The factors related to cyanotoxin occurrence and its social impact, with comprehension and risk perception being the most important issues, are not yet completely understood in the Cuban context. The objectives of this research were to determine the risk extension and microcystin-LR levels, [...] Read more.
The factors related to cyanotoxin occurrence and its social impact, with comprehension and risk perception being the most important issues, are not yet completely understood in the Cuban context. The objectives of this research were to determine the risk extension and microcystin-LR levels, and to identify the environmental factors that trigger the toxic cyanobacteria growth and microcystin-LR occurrence in 24 water reservoirs in eastern Cuba. Samplings were performed in the early morning hours, with in situ determination and physicochemical analysis carried out in the laboratory. Microcystin-LR were determined in water and within the cells (intracellular toxins) using UPLC–MS analysis after solid phase extraction. The reservoirs studied were found to be affected by eutrophication, with high levels of TN:TP ratio and phytoplankton cell concentrations, high water temperatures and low transparency, which cause collateral effect such as cyanobacterial bloom and microcystin-LR occurrence. In Hatillo, Chalóns, Parada, Mícara, Baraguá, Cautillo, La Yaya, Guisa and Jaibo reservoirs, concentrations of MC-LR higher than the WHO limits for drinking water (1 µg·L−1), were detected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins in Waters)
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Article
The Occurrence, Distribution, and Toxicity of High-Risk Ciguatera Fish Species (Grouper and Snapper) in Kiritimati Island and Marakei Island of the Republic of Kiribati
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030208 - 15 Mar 2022
Viewed by 756
Abstract
Ciguatera is one of the most widespread food poisonings caused by the ingestion of fish contaminated by ciguatoxins (CTXs). Snapper and grouper with high palatable and economic value are the primary food source and fish species for exportation in the Republic of Kiribati, [...] Read more.
Ciguatera is one of the most widespread food poisonings caused by the ingestion of fish contaminated by ciguatoxins (CTXs). Snapper and grouper with high palatable and economic value are the primary food source and fish species for exportation in the Republic of Kiribati, but they are highly suspected CTX-contaminated species due to their top predatory characteristics. In this study, 60 fish specimens from 17 species of snappers and groupers collected from the Kiritimati Island and Marakei Island of the Republic of Kiribati were analyzed using mouse neuroblastoma (N2a) assay and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to determine Pacific CTX-1, -2 and -3 (P-CTX-1, -2 and -3). The LC-MS/MS results show that CTXs were detected in 74.5% of specimens from Marakei Island and 61.5% of specimens from Kiritimati Island. The most toxic fish Epinephelus coeruleopunctatus from Marakei Island and Cephalopholis miniata from Kiritimati Island were detected as 53-fold and 28-fold P-CTX-1 equivalents higher than the safety level of 10 pg/g P-CTX-1 equivalents, respectively. CTX levels and composition profiles varied with species and location. The N2a results suggested that fish specimens also contain high levels of other CTX-like toxins or sodium channel activators. The distribution patterns for ciguatoxic fish of the two islands were similar, with fish sampled from the northwest being more toxic than the southwest. This study shows that groupers and snappers are high-risk species for ciguatera in the Republic of Kiribati, and these species can further be used as indicator species in ciguatera endemic areas for risk assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monitoring of Marine Biotoxins)
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Article
A Computational Understanding of Inter-Individual Variability in CYP2D6 Activity to Investigate the Impact of Missense Mutations on Ochratoxin A Metabolism
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030207 - 14 Mar 2022
Viewed by 728
Abstract
Cytochrome P-450 (CYP) enzymes have a key role in the metabolism of xenobiotics of food origin, and their highly polymorphic nature concurs with the diverse inter-individual variability in the toxicokinetics (TK) and toxicodynamics (TD) of food chemicals. Ochratoxin A is a well-known mycotoxin [...] Read more.
Cytochrome P-450 (CYP) enzymes have a key role in the metabolism of xenobiotics of food origin, and their highly polymorphic nature concurs with the diverse inter-individual variability in the toxicokinetics (TK) and toxicodynamics (TD) of food chemicals. Ochratoxin A is a well-known mycotoxin which contaminates a large variety of food and is associated with food safety concerns. It is a minor substrate of CYP2D6, although the effects of CYP2D6 polymorphisms on its metabolism may be overlooked. Insights on this aspect would provide a useful mechanistic basis for a more science-based hazard assessment, particularly to integrate inter-individual differences in CYP2D6 metabolism. This work presents a molecular modelling approach for the analysis of mechanistic features with regard to the metabolic capacity of CYP2D6 variants to oxidise a number of substrates. The outcomes highlighted that a low-frequency CYP2D6 variant (CYP2D6*110) is likely to enhance ochratoxin A oxidation with possible consequences on TK and TD. It is therefore recommended to further analyse such TK and TD consequences. Generally speaking, we propose the identification of mechanistic features and parameters that could provide a semi-quantitative means to discriminate ligands based on the likelihood to undergo transformation by CYP2D6 variants. This would support the development of a fit-for-purpose pipeline which can be extended to a tool allowing for the bulk analysis of a large number of compounds. Such a tool would ultimately include inter-phenotypic differences of polymorphic xenobiotic-metabolising enzymes in the hazard assessment and risk characterisation of food chemicals. Full article
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Article
New Insights into the Toxin Diversity and Antimicrobial Activity of the “Fire Coral” Millepora complanata
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030206 - 14 Mar 2022
Viewed by 785
Abstract
To date, few studies have been carried out aimed at characterizing the toxins synthesized by hydrocorals of the genus Millepora. The purpose of this study was to explore the toxin diversity and antibacterial activity of the “fire coral” M. complanata using a [...] Read more.
To date, few studies have been carried out aimed at characterizing the toxins synthesized by hydrocorals of the genus Millepora. The purpose of this study was to explore the toxin diversity and antibacterial activity of the “fire coral” M. complanata using a transcriptomic data mining approach. In addition, the cytolytic and antibacterial activities of the M. complanata nematocyst proteome were experimentally confirmed. Cytolysins were predicted from the transcriptome by comparing against the Animal Toxin Annotation Project database, resulting in 190 putative toxins, including metalloproteases, hemostasis-impairing toxins, phospholipases, among others. The M. complanata nematocyst proteome was analyzed by 1D and 2D electrophoresis and zymography. The zymograms showed different zones of cytolytic activity: two zones of hemolysis at ~25 and ~205 kDa, two regions corresponding to phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activity around 6 and 25 kDa, and a proteolytic zone was observed between 50 and 205 kDa. The hemolytic activity of the proteome was inhibited in the presence of PLA2 and proteases inhibitors, suggesting that PLA2s, trypsin, chymotrypsin, serine-proteases, and matrix metalloproteases are responsible for the hemolysis. On the other hand, antimicrobial peptide sequences were retrieved from their transcripts with the amPEPpy software. This analysis revealed the presence of homologs to SK84, cgUbiquitin, Ubiquicidin, TroTbeta4, SPINK9-v1, and Histone-related antimicrobials in the transcriptome of this cnidarian. Finally, by employing disk diffusion and microdilution assays, we found that the nematocyst peptidome of M. complanata showed inhibitory activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria including S. enteritidis, P. perfectomarina, E. coli, and C. xerosis, among others. This is the first transcriptomic data mining analysis to explore the diversity of the toxins synthesized by an organism of the genus Millepora. Undoubtedly, this work provides information that will broaden our general understanding of the structural richness of cnidarian toxins. Full article
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Article
The Isolated Mouse Jejunal Afferent Nerve Assay as a Tool to Assess the Effect of Botulinum Neurotoxins in Visceral Nociception
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030205 - 11 Mar 2022
Viewed by 667
Abstract
For the past two decades, botulinum neurotoxin A (BoNT/A) has been described as a strong candidate in the treatment of pain. With the production of modified toxins and the potential new applications at the visceral level, there is a real need for tools [...] Read more.
For the past two decades, botulinum neurotoxin A (BoNT/A) has been described as a strong candidate in the treatment of pain. With the production of modified toxins and the potential new applications at the visceral level, there is a real need for tools allowing the assessment of these compounds. In this study, we evaluated the jejunal mesenteric afferent nerve assay to investigate BoNT/A effects on visceral nociception. This ex vivo model allowed the continuous recording of neuronal activity in response to various stimuli. BoNT/A was applied intraluminally during three successive distensions, and the jejunum was distended every 15 min for 3 h. Finally, samples were exposed to external capsaicin. BoNT/A intoxication was validated at the molecular level with the presence of cleaved synaptosomal-associated protein of 25 (SNAP25) in nerve terminals in the mucosa and musculosa layers 3 h after treatment. BoNT/A had a progressive inhibitory effect on multiunit discharge frequency induced by jejunal distension, with a significant decrease from 1 h after application without change in jejunal compliance. The capsaicin-induced discharge was also affected by the toxin. This assay allowed the description of an inhibitory effect of BoNT/A on afferent nerve activity in response to distension and capsaicin, suggesting BoNT/A could alleviate visceral nociception. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure and Function of Clostridial and Botulinum-Like Neurotoxins)
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Article
Mycotoxins Exposure in Cabinda, Angola—A Pilot Biomonitoring Survey of Breastmilk
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030204 - 10 Mar 2022
Viewed by 694
Abstract
Breast milk is considered the ideal form of nutrition for newborns and infants. However, it can carry over contaminants, namely mycotoxins, with biological effects to which this population is particularly vulnerable. Human biomonitoring and surveillance programs are particularly scarce in low-income countries, where [...] Read more.
Breast milk is considered the ideal form of nutrition for newborns and infants. However, it can carry over contaminants, namely mycotoxins, with biological effects to which this population is particularly vulnerable. Human biomonitoring and surveillance programs are particularly scarce in low-income countries, where food security is a more urgent priority in comparison with food safety. This pilot survey aims to assess exposure of breastfed infants to aflatoxin M1 (AFM1), zearalenone (ZEN), and ochratoxin A (OTA) in Angola, and to evaluate the main socio-demographical and food consumption determinants of lactating mothers. All 37 breast milk samples analyzed are found to be contaminated with ZEN and OTA, although none are found contaminated with AFM1. Contamination levels are lower than previously reported for ZEN but higher in the case of OTA. A significant association between ZEN levels in breast milk and the consumption of cookies by the lactating mothers is found. As for OTA, higher levels are observed in the milk from mothers with younger infants, for which high estimated daily intake (EDI) is determined. As far as the authors are aware, this is the first survey of the occurrence of mycotoxins in breast milk in Angola, so further human biomonitoring works should follow, given that mycotoxins are a global health issue that directly impact the health of populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins and Their Human Biological Effects)
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Article
Botulinum Toxin for Essential Tremor and Hands Tremor in the Neurological Diseases: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030203 - 10 Mar 2022
Viewed by 824
Abstract
Tremor is a common movement disorder. Essential tremor (ET) is the most common etiology of tremor, while hands tremor is the most disabling type of tremor. This study aimed to explore the effects of Botulinum toxin (BoNT) on tremor within 6 weeks of [...] Read more.
Tremor is a common movement disorder. Essential tremor (ET) is the most common etiology of tremor, while hands tremor is the most disabling type of tremor. This study aimed to explore the effects of Botulinum toxin (BoNT) on tremor within 6 weeks of treatment, and the muscular weakness adverse effect within 6 weeks specifically in randomized controlled trials. PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases were searched. Tremor severity and grip strength after BoNT treatment were investigated. BoNT significantly attenuated hand tremor severity in patients with either essential tremor (ET), Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis (Standardized mean difference [SMD] = −0.59, 95% confidence interval [CI], −0.95 to −0.24, p = 0.001, I2 = 46%). Regarding people with ET, BoNT significantly reduced their tremor severity, including hands tremor and head tremor within 6 weeks of treatment (SMD = −0.58, 95% CI, −0.28 to −0.88, p = 0.002, I2 = 0%). Electromyography (EMG) but not anatomical guidance BoNT injection provided significant benefit on the relief of tremor in both conditions. The principal adverse event was weakness, but it did not worse within 6 weeks of BoNT treatment (SMD = −0.35, 95% CI, −0.83 to 0.12, p = 0.07, I2 = 57%), as assessed by the subjective grip strength. In conclusion, BoNT was an effective treatment for the hand tremor and ET, and EMG guidance injection was preferred. In addition, the muscular weakness adverse effect was not significant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Botulinum Toxin in the Movement Disorders Clinic: State of the Art)
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Review
STxB as an Antigen Delivery Tool for Mucosal Vaccination
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030202 - 10 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1183
Abstract
Immunotherapy against cancer and infectious disease holds the promise of high efficacy with minor side effects. Mucosal vaccines to protect against tumors or infections disease agents that affect the upper airways or the lung are still lacking, however. One mucosal vaccine candidate is [...] Read more.
Immunotherapy against cancer and infectious disease holds the promise of high efficacy with minor side effects. Mucosal vaccines to protect against tumors or infections disease agents that affect the upper airways or the lung are still lacking, however. One mucosal vaccine candidate is the B-subunit of Shiga toxin, STxB. In this review, we compare STxB to other immunotherapy vectors. STxB is a non-toxic protein that binds to a glycosylated lipid, termed globotriaosylceramide (Gb3), which is preferentially expressed by dendritic cells. We review the use of STxB for the cross-presentation of tumor or viral antigens in a MHC class I-restricted manner to induce humoral immunity against these antigens in addition to polyfunctional and persistent CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes capable of protecting against viral infection or tumor growth. Other literature will be summarized that documents a powerful induction of mucosal IgA and resident memory CD8+ T cells against mucosal tumors specifically when STxB-antigen conjugates are administered via the nasal route. It will also be pointed out how STxB-based vaccines have been shown in preclinical cancer models to synergize with other therapeutic modalities (immune checkpoint inhibitors, anti-angiogenic therapy, radiotherapy). Finally, we will discuss how molecular aspects such as low immunogenicity, cross-species conservation of Gb3 expression, and lack of toxicity contribute to the competitive positioning of STxB among the different DC targeting approaches. STxB thereby appears as an original and innovative tool for the development of mucosal vaccines in infectious diseases and cancer. Full article
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Article
Production of β-Cyclocitral and Its Precursor β-Carotene in Microcystis aeruginosa: Variation at Population and Single-Cell Levels
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030201 - 09 Mar 2022
Viewed by 749
Abstract
Bloom-forming cyanobacteria produce and release odorous compounds and pose threats to the biodiversity of aquatic ecosystem and to the drinking water supply. In this study, the concentrations of β-cyclocitral in different bacterial growth phases were investigated using GC–MS to determine the growth stage [...] Read more.
Bloom-forming cyanobacteria produce and release odorous compounds and pose threats to the biodiversity of aquatic ecosystem and to the drinking water supply. In this study, the concentrations of β-cyclocitral in different bacterial growth phases were investigated using GC–MS to determine the growth stage of Microcystis aeruginosa at high risk for β-cyclocitral production. Moreover, the synchronicity of the production of β-cyclocitral and its precursor β-carotene at both population and single-cell levels was assessed. The results indicated that β-cyclocitral was the main odorous compound produced by M. aeruginosa cells. The intracellular concentration of β-cyclocitral (Cβ-cc) as well as its cellular quota (Qβ-cc) increased synchronously in the log phase, along with the increase of cell density. However, they reached the maximum values of 415 μg/L and 10.7 fg/cell in the late stationary phase and early stationary phase, respectively. The early stage of the stationary phase is more important for β-cyclocitral monitoring, and the sharp increase in Qβ-cc is valuable for anticipating the subsequent increase in Cβ-cc. The molar concentrations of β-cyclocitral and β-carotene showed a linear relationship, with an R2 value of 0.92, suggesting that the production of β-cyclocitral was linearly dependent on that of β-carotene, especially during the log phase. However, the increase in Qβ-cc was slower than that in β-carotene during the stationary phase, suggesting that β-cyclocitral production turned to be carotene oxygenase-limited when the growth rate decreased. These results demonstrate that variations of β-cyclocitral production on a single-cell level during different bacterial growth phases should be given serious consideration when monitoring and controlling the production of odorous compounds by M. aeruginosa blooms. Full article
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Article
Influence of Endosperm Starch Composition on Maize Response to Fusarium temperatum Scaufl. & Munaut
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030200 - 08 Mar 2022
Viewed by 652
Abstract
Fusarium temperatum Scaufl. & Munaut is a newly described taxon belonging to the Fusarium fujikuroi species complex (FFSC) and a frequent causative factor of maize ear rot. The aim of the present study was to determine the responses to the disease in maize [...] Read more.
Fusarium temperatum Scaufl. & Munaut is a newly described taxon belonging to the Fusarium fujikuroi species complex (FFSC) and a frequent causative factor of maize ear rot. The aim of the present study was to determine the responses to the disease in maize populations differing in endosperm features that were classified to flint, dent, and a group of plants with intermediate kernel characteristics. In inoculation studies, substantial variation of host response to the fungus was found among the tested maize types. The dent-type kernels contained significantly less amylose (28.27%) and exhibited significantly higher rates of infection (IFER = 2.10) and contamination by beauvericin (7.40 mg kg−1) than plants of the flint maize subpopulation. The study documents a significant positive correlation between the Fusarium ear rot intensity (IFER) and ergosterol content (the R value ranged from 0.396 in 2015 to 0.735 in 2018) and between IFER and the presence of beauvericin (the R value ranged from 0.364 in 2015 to 0.785 in 2017). The negative correlation between (IFER) and amylose content (ranging from R = −0.303 to R= −0.180) stresses the role of the endosperm starch composition in the kernel resistance to Fusarium ear rot. The conducted study indicated that the risk of kernel infection and contamination with fungal metabolites (beauvericin and ergosterol) was associated with the maize type kernels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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Article
Interindividual Differences in In Vitro Human Intestinal Microbial Conversion of 3-Acetyl-DON and 15-Acetyl-DON
Toxins 2022, 14(3), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14030199 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 764
Abstract
In order to evaluate the potential differences between 3-Ac-DON and 15-Ac-DON in the human intestinal microbial metabolism, human fecal samples were anaerobically cultured in vitro. Quantitative fecal microbiota characteristics were obtained by 16S rRNA sequencing, and the data revealed several genera that may [...] Read more.
In order to evaluate the potential differences between 3-Ac-DON and 15-Ac-DON in the human intestinal microbial metabolism, human fecal samples were anaerobically cultured in vitro. Quantitative fecal microbiota characteristics were obtained by 16S rRNA sequencing, and the data revealed several genera that may be relevant for the transformation of the acetylated DONs. Significant differences in the level of 3-Ac-DON and 15-Ac-DON conversion were observed among microbiota from different human individuals. 3-Ac-DON could be rapidly hydrolyzed; a ten-fold difference was observed between the highest and lowest in vitro conversion after 4 h. However, 15-Ac-DON was not fully transformed in the 4 h culture of all the individual samples. In all cases, the conversion rate of 3-Ac-DON was higher than that of 15-Ac-DON, and the conversion rate of 3-Ac-DON into DON varied from 1.3- to 8.4-fold that of 15-Ac-DON. Based on in vitro conversion rates, it was estimated that 45–452 min is required to convert all 3-Ac-DON to DON, implying that deacetylation of 3-Ac-DON is likely to occur completely in all human individuals during intestinal transit. However, for conversion of 15-Ac-DON, DON formation was undetectable at 4 h incubation in 8 out of the 25 human samples, while for 7 of these 8 samples conversion to DON was detected at 24 h incubation. The conversion rates obtained for these seven samples indicated that it would take 1925–4805 min to convert all 15-Ac-DON to DON, while the other 17 samples required 173–734 min. From these results it followed that for eight of the 25 individuals, conversion of 15-Ac-DON to DON was estimated to be incomplete during the 1848 min intestinal transit time. The results thus indicate substantial interindividual as well as compound specific differences in the deconjugation of acetylated DONs. A spearman correlation analysis showed a statistically significant relationship between deconjugation of both acetyl-DONs at 4 h and 24 h incubation. Based on the in vitro kinetic parameters and their scaling to the in vivo situation, it was concluded that for a substantial number of human individuals the deconjugation of 15-Ac-DON may not be complete upon intestinal transit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins Study: Identification and Control)
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