Toxin & Toxicity
- The common name is saxitoxin. It is a derivative of arginine and acetate (Shimizu 1986. Pure & Appl. Chem. 58(2): 257—262).
- It is a sodium channel blocker.
- Toxin production is cell cycle-dependent, most actively produced in the G1 phase of the cell cycle (Taroncher-Oldenburg and Anderson 2000).
- Symptoms of poisoning: In mild cases, symptoms begin within 30 minutes and may include a tingling sensation or numbness around lips, gradually spreading to face and neck; prickly sensation in fingertips and toes; headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In extreme cases, it may lead to muscular paralysis, pronounced respiratory difficulty, and a choking sensation. Death through respiratory paralysis may occur within 2-24 h of ingestion. (Hallegraeff, G. M. 1993. A review of harmful algal blooms and their apparent global increase. Phycologia 32: 79-99; also see http://www.answers.com/topic/paralytic-shellfish-poisoning.)
- Lethal dosages: In mice, the intraperitoneal saxitoxin LD50 parentally is 3-10 µg/kg body weight and orally is 263 µg/kg body weight (death within minutes of respiratory failure). LD50 is dosage at which 50% of the affected population die. In humans, oral lethal dosage is 9-10 mg/kg for an adult. Assuming a 70 kg person, this is ~700 mg.
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