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Excitatory amino acid b-N-methylamino-L-alanine is a putative environmental neurotoxin

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Author(s): SRDJAN LOPIČIĆ | MARIJA BRATIĆ-STANOJEVIĆ | PATHAK DHRUBA | DRAGAN PAVLOVIĆ | MILICA PROSTRAN | VLADIMIR NEDELJKOV

Journal: Journal of the Serbian Chemical Society
ISSN 0352-5139

Volume: 76;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 479;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: b-N-methylamino-L-alanine | neurodegenerative diseases | neurotoxicity | environmental toxin

ABSTRACT
The amino acid b-N-methylamino-L-alanine (L-BMAA) has been associated with the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/parkinsonism-dementia complex in three distinct western Pacific populations. The putative neurotoxin is produced by cyanobacteria, which live symbiotically in the roots of cycad trees. L-BMAA was thought to be a threat only to those few populations whose diet and medicines rely heavily on cycad seeds. However, the recent discovery that cyanobacteria from diverse terrestrial, freshwater, and saltwater ecosystems around the world produce the toxin requires a reassessment of whether it poses a larger health threat. Therefore, it is proposed that monitoring L-BMAA levels in cyanobacteria-contaminated water supplies might be prudent.
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