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Toxicon. 2013 Apr;65:76-80. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2013.01.011. Epub 2013 Feb 6.

Change in the transfer profile of orally administered tetrodotoxin to non-toxic cultured pufferfish Takifugu rubripes depending of its development stage.

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  • 1Graduate School of Science and Technology, Nagasaki University, 1-14, Bunkyo-machi, Nagasaki 852-8521, Japan.


To investigate the effects of growth (organ development) on tetrodotoxin (TTX) dynamics in the pufferfish body, TTX-containing feed homogenate was administered to 6- and 15-month old non-toxic cultured specimens of the pufferfish Takifugu rubripes at a dose of 40 mouse units (MU) (8.8 μg)/20 g body weight by oral gavage. After 24 h, the specimens were killed and the skin tissues (dorsal and ventral), muscle, liver, digestive tract, and gonads were separated. TTX content (μg/g) in each tissue, determined by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry, revealed that the TTX distribution profile, particularly the TTX content of the liver, greatly differed between the two ages; the TTX score of 15-month old fish (3.3 μg/g) was nearly 5-fold that of 6-month old fish (0.68 μg/g). The total remaining TTX amount per individual (relative amount to the given dose) was 31% in 6-month old fish, of which 71% was in the skin, and 84% in 15-month old fish, of which 83% was in the liver. The gonadosomatic index (GSI) and hepatosomatic index (HSI) scores, and histologic observations of the gonads and liver suggest that although there is little difference in maturation stage between these two ages, there are clear distinctions in the developmental stage of the liver. The results suggest that the TTX dynamics in T. rubripes are linked to the development of the liver, i.e., the TTX taken up into the pufferfish body via food organisms is eliminated or transferred mainly to the skin in young fish with an undeveloped liver, but as the fish grow and the liver continues to develop, most of the TTX is transferred to and accumulated in the liver.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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