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Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a potent neurotoxin that acts specifically on voltage-gated sodium channels on excitable membranes of muscle and nerve tissues. The biosynthetic process for TTX is unclear, although marine bacteria are generally thought to be the primary producers. The marine flatworm Planocera multitentaculata is a known TTX-bearing organism, and is suspected to be a TTX supplier to pufferfish. In this study, flatworm specimens were collected from an intertidal zone in Hayama, Kanagawa, Japan, the TTX content of the flatworm was measured using liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), and seasonal changes in TTX content were investigated. No significant difference in TTX concentration of the flatworm body was found between the spawning period and other periods. However, the TTX content in individual flatworms was significantly higher in the spawning period than at other times. The TTX content rose in association with an increase in the body weight of the flatworm.


Riko Yamada, Tadasuke Tsunashima, Mitsuki Takei, Tatsunori Sato, Yoshiki Wajima, Makoto Kawase, Shotaro Oshikiri, Yusuke Kajitani, Keita Kosoba, Hiroyuki Ueda, Koko Abe, Shiro Itoi, Haruo Sugita. Seasonal Changes in the Tetrodotoxin Content of the Flatworm Planocera multitentaculata. Marine drugs. 2017 Feb 25;15(3)

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PMID: 28245608

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