Ciguatoxin reduces regenerative capacity of axotomized peripheral neurons and delays functional recovery in pre-exposed mice after peripheral nerve injury

Ngan Pan Bennett Au, Gajendra Kumar, Pallavi Asthana, Chung Tin, Yim Ling Mak, Leo Lai Chan, Paul Kwan Sing Lam, Chi Him Eddie Ma*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) results from consumption of tropical reef fish containing ciguatoxins (CTXs). Pacific (P)-CTX-1 is among the most potent known CTXs and the predominant source of CFP in the endemic region responsible for the majority of neurological symptoms in patients. Chronic and persistent neurological symptoms occur in some CFP patients, which often result in incomplete functional recovery for years. However, the direct effects of exposure to CTXs remain largely unknown. In present study, we exposed mice to CTX purified from ciguatera fish sourced from the Pacific region. P-CTX-1 was detected in peripheral nerves within hours and persisted for two months after exposure. P-CTX-1 inhibited axonal regrowth from axotomized peripheral neurons in culture. P-CTX-1 exposure reduced motor function in mice within the first two weeks of exposure before returning to baseline levels. These pre-exposed animals exhibited delayed sensory and motor functional recovery, and irreversible motor deficits after peripheral nerve injury in which formation of functional synapses was impaired. These findings are consistent with reduced muscle function, as assessed by electromyography recordings. Our study provides strong evidence that the persistence of P-CTX-1 in peripheral nerves reduces the intrinsic growth capacity of peripheral neurons, resulting in delayed functional recovery after injury.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26809
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2016

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