Multiple organ damage caused by a new toxin azaspiracid, isolated from mussels produced in Ireland

Toxicon. 2000 Jul;38(7):917-30. doi: 10.1016/s0041-0101(99)00203-2.


A new type of food poisoning resulting from ingestion of mussels produced in Ireland occurred in the Netherlands in 1995 and then reoccurred in Ireland in 1997. As the causative agent, azaspiracid, was isolated in pure form and revealed to have a structure entirely unlike other known algal toxins, in vivo studies with mice were carried out to elucidate the pathological injuries caused by the toxin. By per os administration, the toxin caused necrosis in the lamina propria of the small intestine and in lymphoid tissues such as thymus, spleen and the Peyer's patches. Both T and B lymphocytes were injured. Additionally a fatty change was observed in the liver. These injuries distinctly differed from those caused by the representative diarrhetic shellfish toxin, okadaic acid.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Bivalvia / chemistry*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Foodborne Diseases / etiology*
  • Foodborne Diseases / physiopathology
  • Intestines / drug effects
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Ireland
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Marine Toxins / isolation & purification
  • Marine Toxins / toxicity*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Okadaic Acid / toxicity
  • Shellfish Poisoning*
  • Spiro Compounds / isolation & purification
  • Spiro Compounds / toxicity*
  • Spleen / drug effects
  • Spleen / pathology


  • Marine Toxins
  • Spiro Compounds
  • azaspiracid
  • Okadaic Acid