Anatoxin-a (ATX-a) is a cyanobacterial toxin whose occurrence has been reported worldwide and has attracted increasing scientific interest due to its toxicity. Moreover, in nature, ATX-a usually appears together with other cyanotoxins, such as cylindrospermopsin (CYN), so possible interaction phenomena could happen and should be considered for risk assessment purposes. For this reason, the aim of this work was to explore the potential mutagenicity and genotoxicity of pure ATX-a and an ATX-a/CYN mixture using a battery of in vitro assays, including the bacterial reverse-mutation assay in Salmonella typhimurium (OECD 471) and the micronucleus test (MN) (OECD 487) on L5178Y Tk+/- cells. The results showed that ATX-a was not mutagenic either alone or in combination with CYN under the conditions tested. Nevertheless, genotoxic effects were observed for both ATX-a and its mixture with CYN following the in vitro MN assay. The genotoxicity exhibited by ATX-a was only observed in the absence of S9 mix, whereas in the cyanotoxin mixture the concentration-dependent genotoxicity of ATX-a/CYN in vitro was observed only in the presence of S9. Thus, the toxicity induced by cyanotoxin mixtures may vary from that produced by toxins alone, and consequently more studies are necessary in order to perform more realistic risk assessments.
Keywords: anatoxin-a; cylindrospermopsin; genotoxicity; mutagenicity.