Dinoflagellates from marine algal blooms produce neurotoxic compounds: effects on free calcium levels in neuronal cells and synaptosomes

Sanja Perovic, Laszlo Tretter, Franz Brümmer, Christian Wetzler, Joachim Brenner, Georg Donner, Heinz C. Schröder, Werner E.G. Müller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


In this report, evidence is presented that the marine unicellular eukaryotic dinoflagellates can cause neurotoxicity very likely by an increase in intracellular free calcium ions ([Ca2+](i)). Determinations of the effects of culture supernatants from different clones of the dinoflagellate Alexandrium sp. isolated from algal blooms on the viability of rat primary neuronal cells revealed that all clones tested were toxic for these cells. In addition, all Alexandrium clones tested, except for A. ostenfeldii BAH ME-141, were found to be toxic for rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells. No toxicity was observed for culture supernatants from Gonyaulax and Coolia monotis. Calcium ions are important in the process of apoptotic cell death; our studies revealed that the dinoflagellate supernatants from A. lusitanicum K2, A. lusitanicum BAH ME-091, and A. tamarense 1M caused an increase in [Ca2+](i) levels in both PC12 cells and primary neuronal cells. These dinoflagellate supernatants, as well as the A. tamarense ccmp 115 supernatant, were found to cause also an increase in free calcium concentration in isolated synaptosomes. Our results suggest that the neurotoxic effects of certain dinoflagellate supernatants may be associated with disturbances in [Ca2+](i) levels. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-94
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2000


  • Alexandrium
  • Algal blooms
  • Calcium
  • Cell viability
  • Dinoflagellate
  • Marine toxins
  • Synaptosomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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