Tetrodotoxin in Asian newts (Salamandridae)

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Tetrodotoxin (TTX) and its analogues occur in a wide range of marine animals but also in terrestrial vertebrates such as frogs, toads and newts. Despite numerous studies on TTX in New World newts (Notophthalmus viridescens, Taricha spp.), few data only exist for Asian newts. Methanolic extracts of newts from China (Cynops orientalis, Pachytriton labiatus, Paramesotriton chinensis), Vietnam (Paramesotriton deloustali, P. guangxiensis), and Laos (Laotriton laoensis) were analyzed by liquid-chromatography-fluorescent detection (LC-FLD) and mass-spectrometry (LC-MS). In all species, variable amounts of TTX were detected, in most specimens also TTX-analogues like 6-epiTTX, in C. orientalis 11-oxoTTX, confirming the presence of these toxins in modern Asian newts.HIGHLIGHTSNewts from Asia contain varying concentrations of tetrodotoxin (TTX).When raised from eggs in captivity, the offspring is entirely non-toxic.TTX appears to be rather of exogenous origin than endogenously synthesized.

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