Public health risks associated with chronic, low-level domoic acid exposure: A review of the evidence

2021-04-27

Domoic acid (DA), the causative agent for the human syndrome Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP), is a potent, naturally occurring neurotoxin produced by common marine algae. DA accumulates in seafood, and humans and wildlife alike can subsequently be exposed when consuming DA-contaminated shellfish or finfish. While strong regulatory limits protect people from the acute effects associated with ASP, DA is an increasingly significant public health concern, particularly for coastal dwelling populations, and there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that there are significant health consequences following repeated exposures to levels of the toxin below current safety guidelines. However, gaps in scientific knowledge make it difficult to precisely determine the risks of contemporary low-level exposure scenarios. The present review characterizes the toxicokinetics and neurotoxicology of DA, discussing results from clinical and preclinical studies after both adult and developmental DA exposure. The review also highlights crucial areas for future DA research and makes the case that DA safety limits need to be reassessed to best protect public health from deleterious effects of this widespread marine toxin.

Authors: Rebekah Petroff, Alicia Hendrix, Sara Shum, Kimberly S Grant, Kathi A Lefebvre, Thomas M Burbacher
; Full Source: Pharmacology & therapeutics 2021 Apr 27;107865. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2021.107865.