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.