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Hum Exp Toxicol. 2011 Mar;30(3):182-91. doi: 10.1177/0960327110372644. Epub 2010 May 24.

Brevetoxin 2 alters expression of apoptotic, DNA damage, and cytokine genes in Jurkat cells.

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Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.


Brevetoxins are potent neurotoxins that exert their toxicity through activation of voltage-gated sodium channels. Exposure to brevetoxins cause severe respiratory inflammation in marine mammals and humans. Brevetoxin activation of voltage-gated sodium channels on immune cells can lead to several biological responses including cell proliferation, gene transcription, cytokine production and even apoptosis. Jurkat E6-1 T cells were treated with brevetoxin 2 for 4 hours at a dose previously shown to induce apoptosis and DNA damage. Changes in gene expression were then assessed via PCR arrays. Gene expression analysis revealed significant change in expression of 17 genes related to apoptosis, 21 genes related to DNA damage signaling, and 19 genes encoding common cytokines. The gene expression data supports the idea that brevetoxins trigger complex reactions involving both inflammation and cell death.

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