Ciguatoxins are polyether marine toxins that act as sodium channel activators. These toxins cause ciguatera, one of the most widespread nonbacterial forms of food poisoning, which presents several symptoms in humans including long-term neurological alterations. Earlier work has shown that both acute and chronic exposure of primary cortical neurons to synthetic ciguatoxin CTX3C have profound impacts on neuronal function. Thus, the present work aimed to identify relevant neuronal genes and metabolic pathways that could be altered by ciguatoxin exposure. To study the effect of ciguatoxins in primary neurons in culture, we performed a transcriptomic analysis using whole mouse genome microarrays, for primary cortical neurons exposed during 6, 24, or 72 h in culture to CTX3C. Here, we have shown that the effects of the toxin on gene expression differ with the exposure time. The results presented here have identified several relevant genes and pathways related to the effect of ciguatoxins on neurons and may assist in future research or even treatment of ciguatera. Moreover, we demonstrated that the effects of the toxin on gene expression were exclusively consequential of its action as a voltage-gated sodium channel activator, since all the effects of CTX3C were avoided by preincubation of the neurons with the sodium channel blocker tetrodotoxin.
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