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Nat Toxins. 1997;5(2):74-9.

Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin to neonatal rats.

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Marine Biotoxins Program, NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center Charleston Laboratory, South Carolina, USA.


Domoic acid induces a time-dependent neuroexcitotoxic effect in neonatal rats characterized by hyperactivity, stereotypic scratching, convulsions, and death with observable behaviors occurring at exposures 40 times lower by body weight in neonates than reported in adults. Low doses of domoic acid (0.1 mg/kg) induced c-fos in the central nervous system which was inhibited in part by 2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid, an NMDA receptor antagonist. Domoic acid caused no evidence of structural alteration in the brain of neonates as assessed by Nissel staining and cupric silver histochemistry. Domoic acid induced reproducible behavioral effects at doses as low as 0.05 mg/kg and induced seizures doses as low as 0.2 mg/kg. Determination of serum domoic acid levels after 60 min exposure indicated that serum levels of domoic acid in the neonates corresponded closely to the serum levels that induce similar symptoms in adult rats and mice. We conclude that neonatal rats are highly sensitive to the neuroexcitatory and lethal effects of domoic acid and that the increased sensitivity results from higher than expected serum levels of domoic acid. These findings are consistent with other findings that reduced serum clearance of domoic acid is a predisposing factor to domoic acid toxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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