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Gastroenteritis and liver carcinogenesis induced by cyanobacterial toxins

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Author(s): Piotr Rzymski, Barbara PoniedziaƂek, Jacek Karczewski

Journal: Polish Gastroenterology
ISSN 1232-9886

Volume: 18;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 159;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: cyanobacteria | cyanotoxins | hepatotoxins | gastroenteritis

ABSTRACT
Cyanobacteria (Cyanophycae, blue-green algae) are prokaryotic autotrophic microorganisms related in general to aquatic (marine and freshwater) environments. Several dozens of the species produce secondary metabolites highly toxic to mammals, including humans. Bioaccumulation of these toxic compounds in aquatic animals has been shown. Depending on the mechanism of action they can be classified as dermato-, cyto-, neuro- and hepatotoxins. Within the last group, microcystins, nodularins and cylindrospermopsins can be distinguished. Swallowing water or consuming food contaminated with cyanobacterial hepatotoxins can lead to acute gastroenteritis or even death. Promotion of carcinogenesis in hepatocytes by cyanotoxins has also been shown. Water reservoirs used for recreational purposes or as a source of food should be monitored regularly. Gastroenterologists should be aware of a potential impact of cyanotoxins on the gastrointestinal tract.
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