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Activation of anion channels in human cells after long term exposure to the marine toxin azaspiracid
1 , 1 , 1 , 1 , 1 , * 2 , 1
1  Departamento de Farmacología, Farmacia y Tecnología Farmacéutica, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Lugo, Spain.
2  Departamento de Farmacología, Farmacia y Tecnología Farmacéutica, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Lugo, Spain

Published: 13 January 2021 by MDPI in 1st International Electronic Conference on Toxins session Poster

Azaspiracids (AZAs) comprise a group of marine toxins first documented in the Netherlands after ingestion of contaminated mussels, harvested in Ireland coasts, by the end of the last century [1-3]. Azaspiracids are known to be produced by dinoflagellates belonging to the genera Azadinium and Amphidoma [4]. In recent years, part of the research on marine toxins effects on human health have focused on their chronic effects. The presence of azaspiracid in fishery products has been regulated in Europe establishing a limit of 160 μg kg-1 AZA equivalents [5]. Since then, several acute in vitro studies were undertaken to elucidate their mechanism of action, but the results obtained showed great controversy regarding the possible cellular targets of AZAs that could contribute to the symptomatology elicited in humans after ingestion of contaminated fishery products. Our group has recently described that these toxins partially blocked sodium entry into the cells and caused cytoskeletal alterations [6], however the effect of these toxins on ion channels remains almost completely unexplored. Therefore, the main aim of our study was to gain more insight on the effects of azaspiracids on ionic homeostasis and cell volume regulation [7]. Thus, electrophysiological effects of nanomolar concentrations of azaspiracids (50 nM) after a 15-20 h exposition of human embryonic kidney cells (HEK293) which express the human Nav1.7 alpha subunit of the sodium channel were determined. Here, using electrophysiological techniques combined with several pharmacological approaches, we demonstrated that AZA-1 elicited a significant increase in anion efflux that could account for the pathophysiology observed in human intoxications.


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Keywords: Azaspiracid; European molluscs; anion channels; voltage-gated chloride channels.