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Cylindrospermopsin toxicity in mice following a 90-d oral exposure

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posted on 2018-04-25, 14:06 authored by N. Chernoff, D.J. Hill, I. Chorus, D.L. Diggs, H. Huang, D. King, J.R. Lang, T.-T. Le, J.E. Schmid, G.S. Travlos, E.M. Whitley, R.E. Wilson, C.R. Wood

Cylindrospermopsin (CYN) is a toxin associated with numerous species of freshwater cyanobacteria throughout the world. It is postulated to have caused an episode of serious illnesses in Australia through treated drinking water, as well as lethal effects in livestock exposed to water from farm ponds. Toxicity included effects indicative of both hepatic and renal dysfunction. In humans, symptoms progressed from initial hepatomegaly, vomiting, and malaise to acidosis and hypokalemia, bloody diarrhea, and hyperemia in mucous membranes. Laboratory animal studies predominantly involved the intraperitoneal (i.p.) route of administration and confirmed this pattern of toxicity with changes in liver enzyme activities and histopathology consistent with hepatic injury and adverse renal effects. The aim of this study was designed to assess subchronic oral exposure (90 d) of purified CYN from 75 to 300 µg/kg/d in mouse. At the end of the dosing period, examinations of animals noted (1) elevated organ to body weight ratios of liver and kidney at all dose levels, (2) treatment-related increases in serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity, (3) decreased blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and cholesterol concentrations in males, and (4) elevated monocyte counts in both genders. Histopathological alterations included hepatocellular hypertrophy and cord disruption in the liver, as well as renal cellular hypertrophy, tubule dilation, and cortical tubule lesions that were more prominent in males. A series of genes were differentially expressed including Bax (apoptosis), Rpl6 (tissue regeneration), Fabp4 (fatty acid metabolism), and Proc (blood coagulation). Males were more sensitive to many renal end points suggestive of toxicity. At the end of exposure, toxicity was noted at all dose levels, and the 75 µg/kg group exhibited significant effects in liver and kidney/body weight ratios, reduced BUN, increased serum monocytes, and multiple signs of histopathology indicating that a no-observed-adverse-effect level could not be determined for any dose level.


Funding for the purchase of the CYN was provided by the German Federal Environment Agency.