Document Detail

Excitotoxins in foods.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  7854587     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Evidence is reviewed pertaining to excitatory neurotoxins (excitotoxins) encountered in human food supply. The most frequently encountered food excitotoxin is glutamate (Glu) which is commercially added to many foods despite evidence that it can freely penetrate certain brain regions and rapidly destroy neurons by hyperactivating the NMDA subtype of Glu receptor. Hypersensitivity of NMDA receptors during development makes the immature nervous system especially sensitive to Glu excitotoxicity. On the other hand, elderly consumers are particularly sensitive to domoic acid, a powerful excitotoxic Glu analog that activates both NMDA and non-NMDA receptors. A high content of domoic acid in shell fish caused a recent food poisoning incident that killed some elderly victims and caused brain damage and memory impairment in others. Neurolathyrism is a crippling neurodegenerative condition associated with ingestion of a legume that naturally contains BOAA, an excitotoxic Glu analog that hyperactivates non-NMDA receptors. Thus, the human food supply is a source of excitotoxins that can damage the brain by one type of mechanism to which immature consumers are hypervulnerable, or by other mechanisms to which adult and elderly consumers are peculiarly sensitive.
J W Olney
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Neurotoxicology     Volume:  15     ISSN:  0161-813X     ISO Abbreviation:  Neurotoxicology     Publication Date:  1994  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1995-03-16     Completed Date:  1995-03-16     Revised Date:  2009-11-19    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7905589     Medline TA:  Neurotoxicology     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  535-44     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110.
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MeSH Terms
Amino Acids, Diamino / toxicity
Aspartame / toxicity
Cysteine / toxicity
Foodborne Diseases / etiology*
Glutamic Acid / toxicity*
Kainic Acid / analogs & derivatives*,  toxicity
Neurotoxins / toxicity*
Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / drug effects
beta-Alanine / analogs & derivatives,  toxicity
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Amino Acids, Diamino; 0/Neurotoxins; 0/Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate; 107-95-9/beta-Alanine; 14277-97-5/domoic acid; 16676-91-8/alpha-amino-beta-methylaminopropionate; 22839-47-0/Aspartame; 487-79-6/Kainic Acid; 52-90-4/Cysteine; 56-86-0/Glutamic Acid; 7554-90-7/oxalyldiaminopropionic acid

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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