Many microalgae produce compounds that exhibit potent biological activities. Ingestion of marine organisms contaminated with those toxins results in seafood poisonings. In many cases, the lack of toxic material turns out to be an obstacle to make the toxicological investigations needed. In this study, we evaluate the cytotoxicity of several marine toxins on neuroblastoma cells, focusing on gambierol and its effect on cytosolic calcium levels. In addition, we compared the effects of this toxin with ciguatoxin, brevetoxin, and gymnocin-A, with which gambierol shares a similar ladder-like backbone, as well as with polycavernoside A analogue 5, a glycosidic macrolide toxin. For this purpose, different fluorescent dyes were used: Fura-2 to monitor variations in cytosolic calcium levels, Alamar Blue to detect cytotoxicity, and Oregon Green 514 Phalloidin to quantify and visualize modifications in the actin cytoskeleton. Data showed that, while gambierol and ciguatoxin were successful in producing a calcium influx in neuroblastoma cells, gymnocin-A was unable to modify this parameter. Nevertheless, none of the toxins induced morphological changes or alterations in the actin assembly. Although polycavernoside A analogue 5 evoked a sharp reduction of the cellular metabolism of neuroblastoma cells, gambierol scarcely reduced it, and ciguatoxin, brevetoxin, and gymnocin-A failed to produce any signs of cytotoxicity. According to this, sharing a similar polycyclic ether backbone is not enough to produce the same effects on neuroblastoma cells; therefore, more studies should be carried out with these toxins, whose effects may be being underestimated.
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