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Induction of Apoptosis Pathways in Several Cell Lines following Exposure to the Marine Algal Toxin Azaspiracid

Author(s): Twiner, M.J.; J.C. Hanagriff; S. Butler; A.K. Madhkoor; G.J. Doucette


Publication Type: Journal Article

Journal Title: Chemcial Research in Toxicology

Date of Publication: 2012

Reference Information: 25 1493-1501

Keywords: apoptosis; azaspiracids; BE(2)-M17 neuroblastoma cells; Caco-2 intestinal cells; cytotoxicity; harmful algal blooms; Jurkat T lymphocytes; marine algal biotoxins

Abstract: Azaspiracids (AZAs) are polyether marine dinoflagellate toxins that accumulate in shellfish and represent an emerging human health risk. Although there have been no deaths associated with the AZA toxins, humans exposed to AZAs experience severe gastrointestinal symptoms. This toxin class has been shown to be highly cytotoxic, a teratogen to developing fish, and a possible carcinogen in mice. Just recently, the AZAs have been shown to be potassium channel inhibitors. This report employed multiple human cell lines [Jurkat T lymphocytes, Caco-2 intestinal cells, and BE(2)-M17 neuroblastoma cells] in characterizing cytotoxicity and pathways of apoptosis. Cytotoxicity experiments were consistent with published literature that has shown that AZA1 is cytotoxic in both a concentration- and timedependent manner to each cell type tested, with mean EC50 values ranging between 1.1 and 7.4 nM. Despite the absence of morphological indices indicating apoptosis, caspase-3/7 activity was higher in all cell types treated with AZA1. Furthermore, in T lymphocytes, the most sensitive cell type, the activities of initiator caspase-2 and caspase-10 and concentrations of intracellular cytochrome c were elevated. DNA fragmentation was also observed for T lymphocytes exposed to AZA1-AZA3. Collectively, our data confirm that AZA1 was highly cytotoxic to multiple cell types and that cells exposed to AZA1 underwent atypical apoptosis, possibly in conjunction with necrotic cytotoxicity.