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Neurotoxicity of Penicillium crustosum secondary metabolites: Tremorgenic activity of orally administered penitrem A and thomitrem A and E in mice

Neurotoxicity of Penicillium crustosum secondary metabolites: Tremorgenic activity of orally administered penitrem A and thomitrem A and E in mice. Moldes-Anaya A, Rundberget T, Faeste CK, Eriksen GS, Bernhoft A. TOXICON 2012; 60 (8):1428-35

Several cases of neurological disease in dogs after poisoning by food- and feed-borne Penicillium toxins in Norway during the last years have uncovered a lack of knowledge regarding the toxicity and mechanism of action of neuroactive mycotoxins.

In the present study, the lowest tremor-inducing dose after single oral administration of penitrem A to mice was 0.50 mg/kg bw. The estimated half maximal effective dose (ED50) in respect to the visual tremor scale was 2.74 mg/kg bw. Mice receiving the maximum penitrem A dose (8 mg/kg bw) suffered severe spontaneous tremors and even convulsions. Thomitrem A and E are penitrem analogues lacking the C-16-C-18 ether linkage and possessing an olefin at C-18-C-19. Compared with penitrem A, the lowest tremor-inducing dose of thomitrem A was 16-times higher (8 mg/kg bw) and thomitrem E was found to be non-tremorgenic at the highest dose tested (16 mg/kg bw).

During a recovery phase of two weeks post administration animals appeared restored and no changes in feeding and other biological processes were observed. An initial dose-related weight reduction was observed 2 days after penitrem A administration. Penitrem A was absorbed and distributed to gastrointestinal tract, liver, kidneys and brain in the mice. Elimination of penitrem A appeared to be mainly hepatic and the highest concentration levels were found 1 h post administration for all investigated organs. The relationship between liver and gastrointestinal tract concentration levels showed time-dependent linear correlation and a doubling within 1.5 h.

NVI authors

Bernhoft Aksel

Senior researcher