Neurodevelopmental Effects of Saxitoxin Exposure

O’Neill K, Musgrave IF, Humpage A. Low dose extended exposure to saxitoxin and its potential neurodevelopmental effects: A review.
Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2016 Sep 28;48:7-16. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2016.09.020.

Saxitoxin (STX) and its analogs, the paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs), are a group of potent neurotoxins well known for their role in acute paralytic poisoning by preventing the generation of action potentials in neuronal cells. They are found in both marine and freshwater environments globally and although acute exposure from the former has previously received more attention, low dose extended exposure from both sources is possible and to date has not been investigated. Given the known role of cellular electrical activity in neurodevelopment this pattern of exposure may be a significant public health concern. Additionally, the presence of PSTs is likely to be an ongoing and possibly increasing problem in the future. This review examines the neurodevelopmental toxicity of STX, the risk of extended or repeated exposure to doses with neurodevelopmental effects, the potential implications of this exposure and briefly, the steps taken and difficulties faced in preventing exposure.

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