Context: Consumption of Sarpa salpa Linn. (Sparidae) in certain periods of the year is inadvisable because it can cause central nervous system disorders resulting in sea food poisoning.
Aims: The present study assesses the cytotoxic effects of compounds, not-yet identified, present in the organ extracts of S. salpa, collected in autumn, the period corresponding to the peak in human health problems.
Materials and methods: The toxicity was assessed by mouse bioassay of aqueous extract of the fish organs. Wistar rats received daily extracts of different organs of S. salpa by gastric gavage for 7?d (0.3?mL of extract/100?g body weight BW). The dose of tissue extracts of viscera, liver, brain, and flesh of S. salpa administered to rats was as follows: 172, 313, 2050, and 2660?mg/kg BW, respectively. No deaths occurred during the period of treatment.
Results: The lethal dose (LD50) determined for the crude ciguatoxin (neurotoxins) extracts of viscera, liver, brain, and flesh of S. salpa was as follows: 1.2, 2.2, 14.4, and 18.6?g/kg mouse, respectively. Changes in locomotor activity during the first 2?h and failure in breathing and no evident signs of gastrointestinal problems were recorded. We observed (1) induction of oxidative stress, indicated by an increase in lipid peroxidation (TBARS) in groups that received extracts of liver (+425%) or viscera (+433%), and a significant decrease in antioxidant enzyme activities (SOD, CAT, and GPx) in cerebral cortex tissue by 13%, 25%, and 25% (LT: animals receiving liver extracts) and by 16%, 26%, and 27% (VT: animals receiving viscera extracts), respectively. In contrast, the administration of extracts of flesh and brain induced an increase in antioxidant enzyme activities (SOD, CAT, and GPx) in cerebral cortex tissue by 26%, 23%, and 44% (FT: flesh extract) and 28%, 24%, and 46% (BT: brain extract), respectively; (2) a significant decrease for acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in cerebral cortex was recorded in FT, BT, LT, and VT by 27, 34, 58, and 78%, respectively. Moreover, a significant decrease of AChE activity in plasma was recorded in FT, BT, LT, and VT by 16, 21, 38, and 48%, respectively; (3) the histological findings confirmed the biochemical results.
Conclusions: Liver and especially the visceral part of S. salpa presented toxicity, which clearly indicates the danger of using this fish as food.