Article

Cyanobacterial neurotoxin BMAA in ALS and Alzheimer's disease.

Department of Neurology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33136, USA.
Acta Neurologica Scandinavica (Impact Factor: 2.44). 03/2009; 120(4):216-25. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.2008.01150.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to screen for and quantify the neurotoxic amino acid beta-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) in a cohort of autopsy specimens taken from Alzheimer's disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington's disease (HD), and non-neurological controls. BMAA is produced by cyanobacteria found in a variety of freshwater, marine, and terrestrial habitats. The possibility of geographically broad human exposure to BMAA had been suggested by the discovery of BMAA in brain tissues of Chamorro patients with ALS/Parkinsonism dementia complex from Guam and more recently in AD patients from North America. These observations warranted an independent study of possible BMAA exposures outside of the Guam ecosystem.
Postmortem brain specimens were taken from neuropathologically confirmed cases of 13 ALS, 12 AD, 8 HD patients, and 12 age-matched non-neurological controls. BMAA was quantified using a validated fluorescent HPLC method previously used to detect BMAA in patients from Guam. Tandem mass spectrometric (MS) analysis was carried out to confirm the identification of BMAA in neurological specimens.
We detected and quantified BMAA in neuroproteins from postmortem brain tissue of patients from the United States who died with sporadic AD and ALS but not HD. Incidental detections observed in two out of the 24 regions were analyzed from the controls. The concentrations of BMAA were below what had been reported previously in Chamarro ALS/ Parkinsonism dementia complex patients, but demonstrated a twofold range across disease and regional brain area comparisons. The presence of BMAA in these patients was confirmed by triple quadrupole liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry.
The occurrence of BMAA in North American ALS and AD patients suggests the possibility of a gene/environment interaction, with BMAA triggering neurodegeneration in vulnerable individuals.

1 Bookmark
 · 
124 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: During mRNA decoding at the ribosome, deviations from stringent codon identity, or "mistranslation," are generally deleterious and infrequent. Observations of organisms that decode some codons ambiguously, and the discovery of a compensatory increase in mistranslation frequency to combat environmental stress have changed the way we view "errors" in decoding. Modern tools for the study of the frequency and phenotypic effects of mistranslation can provide quantitative and sensitive measurements of decoding errors that were previously inaccessible. Mistranslation with non-protein amino acids, in particular, is an enticing prospect for new drug therapies and the study of molecular evolution.
    FEBS Letters 09/2014; · 3.34 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: β-N-methylamino-l-alanine (BMAA) is a neurotoxic non-protein amino acid suggested to be involved in neurodegenerative diseases. It was reported to be produced by cyanobacteria, but also found in edible aquatic organisms, thus raising concern of a widespread human exposure. However, the chemical analysis of BMAA and its isomers are controversial, mainly due to the lack of selectivity of the analytical methods. Using factorial design, we have optimized the chromatographic separation of underivatized analogues by a hydrophilic interaction chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (HILIC-MS/MS) method. A combination of an effective solid phase extraction (SPE) clean-up, appropriate chromatographic resolution and the use of specific mass spectral transitions allowed for the development of a highly selective and sensitive analytical procedure to identify and quantify BMAA and its isomers (in both free and total form) in cyanobacteria and mollusk matrices (LOQ of 0.225 and 0.15 µg/g dry weight, respectively). Ten species of cyanobacteria (six are reported to be BMAA producers) were screened with this method, and neither free nor bound BMAA could be found, while both free and bound DAB were present in almost all samples. Mussels and oysters collected in 2009 in the Thau Lagoon, France, were also screened, and bound BMAA and its two isomers, DAB and AEG, were observed in all samples (from 0.6 to 14.4 µg/g DW), while only several samples contained quantifiable free BMAA.
    Marine Drugs 11/2014; 12(11):5441-67. · 3.51 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The neurotoxin β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) produced naturally by cyanobacteria, diatoms and dinoflagellates can be transferred and accumulated up the food chain, and may be a risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases. This study provides the first systematic screening of BMAA exposure of a large population through the consumption of seafood sold in metropolitan markets. BMAA was distinguished from known isomers by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry after acidic hydrolysis and derivatization. Using deuterium-labeled internal standard, BMAA was quantified as 0.01-0.90 μg/g wet weight of tissues in blue mussel, oyster, shrimp, plaice, char and herring, but was undetectable (<0.01 μg/g) in other samples (salmon, cod, perch and crayfish). Provided that the content of BMAA detected is relevant for intake calculations, the data presented may be used for a first estimation of BMAA exposure through seafood from Swedish markets, and to refine the design of future toxicological experiments and assessments.
    Scientific Reports 11/2014; 4:6931. · 5.08 Impact Factor