Neurotoxin Discovered in Chronic
Needham, MA November 17, 2002 -- Research sponsored by the National
CFIDS Foundation was formally announced at the International Symposium on Toxins
and Natural Products in Okinawa, Japan on November 17-19, 2002 by Dr. Yoshitsugi
Hokama. The research, for the first time, discovered ciguatoxin, a potent
neurotoxin, in the blood of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients.
"Chronic ciguatera poisoning has already been suggested as a scientific model
for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)," stated Dr. Hokama. Ciguatoxins are potent,
heat stabile, non-protein, lipophilic sodium channel activator toxins and are
recognized as some of the most potent biological toxins known. They produce
dramatic neurological manifestations, such as peripheral sensory or motor
symptoms (including paresthesias, pain, burning, tingling, numbness), central
symptoms such as headache, autonomic dysfunction and also affect multiple body
systems (gastrointestinal, immune, hepatic, cardiovascular) and the muscles.
Many CFS patients in the study had higher levels of the toxin than the
patients with cancer, hepatitis or acute ciguatera poisoning.
Quantitative assay results range from 1:5, the lowest toxin level, to 1:160,
the highest toxin level. All CFS samples gave titres of at least 1:20, with the
majority of titres from 1:40 to 1:160.
Dr. Hokama presented his preliminary findings in a lecture titled "Acute
phase lipids in sera of various diseases: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ciguatera,
hepatitis, and various cancer with antigentic epitope resembling ciguatoxin as
determined with Mab-CTX."
Dr. Hokama is a Professor in the Department of Pathology at the John A. Burns
School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is a world expert in
the area of fish toxins with hundreds of peer reviewed publications to his
credit. Hokama developed the Membrane Immunobead Assay test for patient sera,
using a specific monoclonal antibody for ciguatera toxin (Mab-CTX). His current
research into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a ciguatera toxin connection was
funded by the National CFIDS Foundation's research grant program.
Gail Kansky, President of the National CFIDS Foundation, said, "We believe
this to be a significant breakthrough. CFS, which has come to include myalgic
encephalomyelitis, is a very severe illness that has not received adequate
funding or appropriate medical attention. Although there are still many
unanswered questions and much work to be done, research efforts will ultimately
turn the tide in the understanding of this disease and allow patients to receive
appropriate medical therapies. We are indebted to Dr. Hokama and his colleagues
for providing this monumental first step."
For more information on this study or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, please
contact The National CFIDS Foundation.
Gail Kansky 781-449-3535
Click here for the abstract of the
presentation given by Dr. Yoshitsugi Hokama at the
International Symposium on Toxins and Natural Products in Okinawa, Japan on
November 17-19, 2002.
Click here for the full text of the
Journal of Toxicology: Toxins Review (2003) paper titled
"Chronic phase lipids" in sera of several
chronic diseases reacting with MAb-CTX (antibody to ciguatoxin) by Y. Hokama
et. al. (in the printable PDF file format).
Click here for the full text (publisher's PDF version) of
Chronic phase lipids in sera of chronic
fatigue syndrome (CFS), chronic ciguatera fish poisoning (CCFP), hepatitis B,
and cancer with antigenic epitope resembling ciguatoxin, as assessed with
MAb-CTX. Journal: J Clin Lab Anal. 2003;17(4):132-9. Authors: Hokama Y, Uto
GA, Palafox NA, Enlander D, Jordan E, Cocchetto A.
Click here for the full text (PDF) of the
Neurology of ciguatera article by Dr. John Pearn.
Click here for the text-only version.
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Ciguatera Toxin FAQ.