Subacute Cardiotoxicity of Yessotoxin: In Vitro and in Vivo Studies

Ferreiro S.F. et al
Chem Res Toxicol. 2016 Jun 20;29(6):981-90


Yessotoxin (YTX) is a marine phycotoxin produced by dinoflagellates and accumulated in filter feeding shellfish. Although no human intoxication episodes have been reported, YTX content in shellfish is regulated by many food safety authorities due to their worldwide distribution. YTXs have been related to ultrastructural heart damage in vivo, but the functional consequences in the long term have not been evaluated. In this study, we explored the accumulative cardiotoxic potential of YTX in vitro and in vivo. Preliminary in vitro evaluation of cardiotoxicity was based on the effect on hERG (human ether-a-go-go related gene) channel trafficking. In vivo experiments were performed in rats that received repeated administrations of YTX followed by recordings of electrocardiograms, arterial blood pressure, plasmatic cardiac biomarkers, and analysis of myocardium structure and ultrastructure. Our results showed that an exposure to 100 nM YTX for 12 or 24 h caused an increase of extracellular surface hERG channels. Furthermore, remarkable bradycardia and hypotension, structural heart alterations, and increased plasma levels of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 were observed in rats after four intraperitoneal injections of YTX at doses of 50 or 70 μg/kg that were administered every 4 days along a period of 15 days. Therefore, and for the first time, YTX-induced subacute cardiotoxicity is supported by evidence of cardiovascular function alterations related to its repeated administration. Considering international criteria for marine toxin risk estimation and that the regulatory limit for YTX has been recently raised in many countries, YTX cardiotoxicity might pose a health risk to humans and especially to people with previous cardiovascular risk.