Effect of ciguatoxin 3C on voltage-gated Na+ and K+ currents in mouse taste cells

Valeria Ghiaroni, Haruhiko Fuwa, Masayuki Inoue, Makoto Sasaki, Keisuke Miyazaki, Masahiro Hirama, Takeshi Yasumoto, Gian Paolo Rossini, Giuseppe Scalera, Albertino Bigiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


The marine dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus toxicus produces highly lipophilic, polycyclic ether toxins that cause a seafood poisoning called ciguatera. Ciguatoxins (CTXs) and gambierol represent the two major causative agents of ciguatera intoxication, which include taste alterations (dysgeusiae). However, information on the mode of action of ciguatera toxins in taste cells is scarce. Here, we have studied the effect of synthetic CTX3C (a CTX congener) on mouse taste cells. By using the patch-clamp technique to monitor membrane ion currents, we found that CTX3C markedly affected the operation of voltage-gated Na+ channels but was ineffective on voltage-gated K+ channels. This result was the exact opposite of what we obtained earlier with gambierol, which inhibits K+ channels but not Na+ channels. Thus, CTXs and gambierol affect with high potency the operation of separate classes of voltage-gated ion channels in taste cells. Our data suggest that taste disturbances reported in ciguatera poisoning might be due to the ability of ciguatera toxins to interfere with ion channels in taste buds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-680
Number of pages8
JournalChemical Senses
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Sept


  • Ciguatera toxins
  • Gustation
  • Patch clamp
  • Taste alteration
  • Voltage-gated ion currents


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