Overview of aerosolized Florida red tide toxins: exposures and effects. (41/156)

Florida red tide is caused by Karenia brevis, a dinoflagellate that periodically blooms, releasing its potent neurotoxin, brevetoxin, into the surrounding waters and air along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Exposure to Florida red tide toxins has been associated with adverse human health effects and massive fish and marine mammal deaths. The articles in this mini-monograph describe the ongoing interdisciplinary and interagency research program that characterizes the exposures and health effects of aerosolized Florida red tide toxins (brevetoxins). The interdisciplinary research program uses animal models and laboratory studies to develop hypotheses and apply these findings to in situ human exposures. Our ultimate goal is to develop appropriate prevention measures and medical interventions to mitigate or prevent adverse health effects from exposure to complex mixtures of aerosolized red tide toxins.  (+info)

Natural and derivative brevetoxins: historical background, multiplicity, and effects. (42/156)

Symptoms consistent with inhalation toxicity have long been associated with Florida red tides, and various causal agents have been proposed. Research since 1981 has centered on a group of naturally occurring trans-fused cyclic polyether compounds called brevetoxins that are produced by a marine dinoflagellate known as Karenia brevis. Numerous individual brevetoxins have been identified from cultures as well as from natural bloom events. A spectrum of brevetoxin derivatives produced by chemical modification of the natural toxins has been prepared to examine the effects of functional group modification on physiologic activity. Certain structural features of natural and synthetic derivatives of brevetoxin appear to ascribe specific physiologic consequences to each toxin. Differential physiologic effects have been documented with many of the natural toxins and derivatives, reinforcing the hypothesis that metabolism or modification of toxin structures modulates both the specific toxicity (lethality on a per milligram basis) and potentially the molecular mechanism(s) of action. A series of naturally occurring fused-ring polyether compounds with fewer rings than brevetoxin, known as brevenals, exhibit antagonistic properties and counteract the effects of the brevetoxins in neuronal and pulmonary model systems. Taken together, the inhalation toxicity of Florida red tides would appear to depend on the amount of each toxin present, as well as on the spectrum of molecular activities elicited by each toxin. Toxicity in a bloom is diminished by the amount brevenal present.  (+info)

Inhalation toxicity of brevetoxin 3 in rats exposed for twenty-two days. (43/156)

Brevetoxins are potent neurotoxins produced by the marine dinoflagellate Karenia brevis. Exposure to brevetoxins may occur during a K. brevis red tide when the compounds become aerosolized by wind and surf. This study assessed possible adverse health effects associated with inhalation exposure to brevetoxin 3, one of the major brevetoxins produced by K. brevis and present in aerosols collected along beaches affected by red tide. Male F344 rats were exposed to brevetoxin 3 at 0, 37, and 237 microg/m3 by nose-only inhalation 2 hr/day, 5 days/week for up to 22 exposure days. Estimated deposited brevetoxin 3 doses were 0.9 and 5.8 microg/kg/day for the low- and high-dose groups, respectively. Body weights of the high-dose group were significantly below control values. There were no clinical signs of toxicity. Terminal body weights of both low- and high-dose-group rats were significantly below control values. Minimal alveolar macrophage hyperplasia was observed in three of six and six of six of the low- and high-dose groups, respectively. No histopathologic lesions were observed in the nose, brain, liver, or bone marrow of any group. Reticulocyte numbers in whole blood were significantly increased in the high-dose group, and mean corpuscular volume showed a significant decreasing trend with increasing exposure concentration. Humoral-mediated immunity was suppressed in brevetoxin-exposed rats as indicated by significant reduction in splenic plaque-forming cells in both low- and high-dose-group rats compared with controls. Results indicate that the immune system is the primary target for toxicity in rats after repeated inhalation exposure to relatively high concentrations of brevetoxins.  (+info)

Effects of inhaled brevetoxins in allergic airways: toxin-allergen interactions and pharmacologic intervention. (44/156)

During a Florida red tide, brevetoxins produced by the dinoflagellate Karenia brevis become aerosolized and cause airway symptoms in humans, especially in those with pre-existing airway disease (e.g., asthma). To understand these toxin-induced airway effects, we used sheep with airway hypersensitivity to Ascaris suum antigen as a surrogate for asthmatic patients and studied changes in pulmonary airflow resistance (R(L) after inhalation challenge with lysed cultures of K. brevis (crude brevetoxins). Studies were done without and with clinically available drugs to determine which might prevent/reverse these effects. Crude brevetoxins (20 breaths at 100 pg/mL; n = 5) increased R(L) 128 +/- 6% (mean +/- SE) over baseline. This bronchoconstriction was significantly reduced (% inhibition) after pretreatment with the glucocorticosteroid budesonide (49%), the beta(2) adrenergic agent albuterol (71%), the anticholinergic agent atropine (58%), and the histamine H1-antagonist diphenhydramine (47%). The protection afforded by atropine and diphenhydramine suggests that both cholinergic (vagal) and H1-mediated pathways contribute to the bronchoconstriction. The response to cutaneous toxin injection was also histamine mediated. Thus, the airway and skin data support the hypothesis that toxin activates mast cells in vivo. Albuterol given immediately after toxin challenge rapidly reversed the bronchoconstriction. Toxin inhalation increased airway kinins, and the response to inhaled toxin was enhanced after allergen challenge. Both factors could contribute to the increased sensitivity of asthmatic patients to toxin exposure. We conclude that K. brevis aerosols are potent airway constrictors. Clinically available drugs may be used to prevent or provide therapeutic relief for affected individuals.  (+info)

Characterization of marine aerosol for assessment of human exposure to brevetoxins. (45/156)

Red tides in the Gulf of Mexico are commonly formed by the fish-killing dinoflagellate Karenia brevis, which produces nine potent polyether brevetoxins (PbTxs). Brevetoxins can be transferred from water to air in wind-powered white-capped waves. Inhalation exposure to marine aerosol containing brevetoxins causes respiratory symptoms. We describe detailed characterization of aerosols during an epidemiologic study of occupational exposure to Florida red tide aerosol in terms of its concentration, toxin profile, and particle size distribution. This information is essential in understanding its source, assessing exposure to people, and estimating dose of inhaled aerosols. Environmental sampling confirmed the presence of brevetoxins in water and air during a red tide exposure period (September 2001) and lack of significant toxin levels in the water and air during an unexposed period (May 2002). Water samples collected during a red tide bloom in 2001 showed moderate-to-high concentrations of K. brevis cells and PbTxs. The daily mean PbTx concentration in water samples ranged from 8 to 28 microg/L from 7 to 11 September 2001; the daily mean PbTx concentration in air samples ranged from 1.3 to 27 ng/m(3). The daily aerosol concentration on the beach can be related to PbTx concentration in water, wind speed, and wind direction. Personal samples confirmed human exposure to red tide aerosols. The particle size distribution showed a mean aerodynamic diameter in the size range of 6-12 microm, with deposits mainly in the upper airways. The deposition pattern correlated with the observed increase of upper airway symptoms in healthy lifeguards during the exposure periods.  (+info)

Occupational exposure to aerosolized brevetoxins during Florida red tide events: effects on a healthy worker population. (46/156)

Karenia brevis (formerly Gymnodinium breve) is a marine dinoflagellate responsible for red tides that form in the Gulf of Mexico. K. brevis produces brevetoxins, the potent toxins that cause neurotoxic shellfish poisoning. There is also limited information describing human health effects from environmental exposures to brevetoxins. Our objective was to examine the impact of inhaling aerosolized brevetoxins during red tide events on self-reported symptoms and pulmonary function. We recruited a group of 28 healthy lifeguards who are occupationally exposed to red tide toxins during their daily work-related activities. They performed spirometry tests and reported symptoms before and after their 8-hr shifts during a time when there was no red tide (unexposed period) and again when there was a red tide (exposed period). We also examined how mild exercise affected the reported symptoms and spirometry tests during unexposed and exposed periods with a subgroup of the same lifeguards. Environmental sampling (K. brevis cell concentrations in seawater and brevetoxin concentrations in seawater and air) was used to confirm unexposed/exposed status. Compared with unexposed periods, the group of lifeguards reported more upper respiratory symptoms during the exposed periods. We did not observe any impact of exposure to aerosolized brevetoxins, with or without mild exercise, on pulmonary function.  (+info)

Initial evaluation of the effects of aerosolized Florida red tide toxins (brevetoxins) in persons with asthma. (47/156)

Florida red tides annually occur in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting from blooms of the marine dinoflagellate Karenia brevis. K. brevis produces highly potent natural polyether toxins, known as brevetoxins, that activate voltage-sensitive sodium channels. In experimental animals, brevetoxins cause significant bronchoconstriction. A study of persons who visited the beach recreationally found a significant increase in self-reported respiratory symptoms after exposure to aerosolized Florida red tides. Anecdotal reports indicate that persons with underlying respiratory diseases may be particularly susceptible to adverse health effects from these aerosolized toxins. Fifty-nine persons with physician-diagnosed asthma were evaluated for 1 hr before and after going to the beach on days with and without Florida red tide. Study participants were evaluated with a brief symptom questionnaire, nose and throat swabs, and spirometry approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Environmental monitoring, water and air sampling (i.e., K. brevis, brevetoxins, and particulate size distribution), and personal monitoring (for toxins) were performed. Brevetoxin concentrations were measured by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, high-performance liquid chromatography, and a newly developed brevetoxin enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Participants were significantly more likely to report respiratory symptoms after Florida red tide exposure. Participants demonstrated small but statistically significant decreases in forced expiratory volume in 1 sec, forced expiratory flow between 25 and 75%, and peak expiratory flow after exposure, particularly those regularly using asthma medications. Similar evaluation during nonexposure periods did not significantly differ. This is the first study to show objectively measurable adverse health effects from exposure to aerosolized Florida red tide toxins in persons with asthma. Future studies will examine the possible chronic effects of these toxins among persons with asthma and other chronic respiratory impairment.  (+info)

Cochlear function in mice following inhalation of brevetoxin-3. (48/156)

Brevetoxin-3 was shown previously to adversely affect central auditory function in goldfish. The present study evaluated the effects of exposure to this agent on cochlear function in mice using the 2f(1)-f(2) distortion-product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE). Towards this end, inbred CBA/CaJ mice were exposed to a relatively high concentration of brevetoxin-3 (approximately=400 microg/m(3)) by nose-only inhalation for a 2-h period. Further, a subset of these mice received a second exposure a day later that lasted for an additional 4 h. Mice exposed only once for 2 h did not exhibit any notable cochlear effects. Similarly, mice exposed two times, for a cumulative dose of 6 h, exhibited essentially no change in DPOAE levels.  (+info)