Oral toxicity of the cyanobacterial toxin cylindrospermopsin in mice: Long-term exposure to low doses

A. Sukenik*, M. Reisner, S. Carmeli, M. Werman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hepatotoxin cylindrospermopsin, a sulfated-guanidinium alkaloid with substituted dioxypyrimidine (uracil) moiety, was isolated from several cyanobacteria species. The acute toxicity of cylindrospermopsin was well established based on intraperitoneal and oral exposure; however, only a few long-term subacute exposure studies were performed to permit a reliable guideline value for cylindrospermopsin in drinking water. In the study reported herein, female and male mice were exposed to cylindrospermopsin in their drinking water. Cylindrospermopsin-containing, Aphanizomenon ovalisporum (cyanobacterium)-free medium was provided as the only source of drinking water, whereas a control group was given a fresh medium for cyanobacteria as drinking water. Over a period of 42 weeks, experiment groups were exposed to cylindrospermopsin concentration, gradually increased from 100 to 550 μg L-1 (daily exposure ranged between 10 and 55 μg kg-1 day-1). Body and organ weights were recorded, and serum and hematology analyses were performed 20 and 42 weeks after the beginning of the experiment. The most pronounced effect of cylindrospermopsin was elevated hematocrit levels in both male and female mice after 16 weeks of exposure to cylindrospermopsin. The observed changes in the hematocrit level were accompanied by deformation of red blood cells, which were changed into acanthocyte. Based on these results, a daily cylindrospermopsin dose of 20 μg kg-1 day-1 (equivalent to 200 μg L-1) is proposed as the lowest-observed-adverse-effect level for both male and female mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-582
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2006


  • Aphanizomenon ovalisporum
  • Chronic toxicity
  • Cylindrospermopsin
  • Lowest-observed-adverse-effect level (LOAEL)


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