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Acute toxicity of decarbamoyl gonyautoxin 1&4 to mice by various routes of administration

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posted on 2023-05-10, 07:37 authored by Michael Boundy, Tim Harwood, Elena Tommasi, Emillie Burger, Roel van Ginkel, Craig Waugh, Andrew Selwood, Sarah FinchSarah Finch
Saxitoxin and its derivatives, the paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs), are well known to be toxic to humans, and maximum permitted levels in seafood have been established by regulatory authorities in many countries. Monitoring of PSTs is typically performed using chemical methods which quantify the concentration of the individual PST analogues, of which there are many. However, since the toxicities of analogues are different, they do not equally contribute to the overall toxicity of the sample. To account for these differences, toxicity equivalency factors (TEFs) need to be determined for each analogue and applied. Currently there are no established TEFs for decarbamoyl gonyautoxin 1&4 (dcGTX1&4), which occurs in some clam species such as Mactra chinensis contaminated with PSTs due to metabolism within the shellfish. In this study the median lethal dose of purified, equilibrated epimeric mixture of dcGTX1&4 has been determined by intraperitoneal injection (i.p.) (4.75 μmol/kg) and by feeding (34.9 μmol/kg). The most relevant route of exposure is orally with feeding being more representative of human consumption and more reliable than gavage. Based on the median lethal dose by feeding, a TEF of 0.1 is recommended for dcGTX1&4. Receptor binding activity and i.p. toxicity results showed dcGTX1&4 to be much less toxic than STX (140–170-fold). However, by feeding a much smaller difference in toxicity was observed with dcGTX1&4 being only 11-fold less toxic than STX. Analysis of the gut contents of mice dosed with dcGTX1&4 showed the presence of decarbamoyl gonyautoxin 2&3, decarbamoyl saxitoxin and decarbamoyl neosaxitoxin, all of which are of greater toxicity. This conversion of dcGTX1&4 within the digestive track to more toxic congeners may explain the high relative toxicity of dcGTX1&4 by feeding compared to that determined by i.p. and by sodium channel activity.


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Boundy, M. J., Harwood, D. T., Tommasi, E., Burger, E., van Ginkel, R., Waugh, C., Selwood, A. I., & Finch, S. (2021). Acute toxicity of decarbamoyl gonyautoxin 1&4 to mice by various routes of administration. Toxicon, 204, 56–63.

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