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In vitro chronic effects on hERG channel caused by the marine biotoxin azaspiracid-2

Ferreiro, Sara F., Vilariño, Natalia, Louzao, M.Carmen, Nicolaou, K.C., Frederick, Michael O., Botana, Luis M.
Toxicon 2014 v.91 pp. 69-75
Azadinium spinosum, arrhythmia, azaspiracid, chronic exposure, diarrhea, food safety, heart, human health, humans, long term effects, plasma membrane, poisoning, rats, seafoods, shellfish, toxicity
Azaspiracids (AZAs) are marine biotoxins produced by the dinoflagellate Azadinium spinosum that accumulate in many shellfish species. Azaspiracid poisoning caused by AZA-contaminated seafood consumption is primarily manifested by diarrhea in humans. To protect human health, AZA-1, AZA-2 and AZA-3 content in seafood has been regulated by food safety authorities in many countries. Recently AZAs have been reported as a low/moderate hERG channel blockers. Furthermore AZA-2 has been related to arrhythmia appearance in rats, suggesting potential heart toxicity. In this study AZA-2 in vitro effects on hERG channel after chronic exposure are analyzed to further explore potential cardiotoxicity. The amount of hERG channel in the plasma membrane, hERG channel trafficking and hERG currents were evaluated up to 12 h of toxin exposure. In these conditions AZA-2 caused an increase of hERG levels in the plasma membrane, probably related to hERG retrograde trafficking impairment. Although this alteration did not translate into an increase of hERG channel-related current, more studies will be necessary to understand its mechanism and to know what consequences could have in vivo. These findings suggest that azaspiracids might have chronic cardiotoxicity related to hERG channel trafficking and they should not be overlooked when evaluating the threat to human health.