Shellfish Toxicity Workup

Updated: May 11, 2022
  • Author: Thomas C Arnold, MD, FAAEM, FACMT; Chief Editor: Asim Tarabar, MD  more...
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Laboratory Studies

Direct human serum assays for shellfish toxins are not yet available to clinicians. Research in this area is ongoing, and a reliable assay for several of these specific toxins should be available soon.

Saxitoxin can be assayed by using a mouse bioassay, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Brevetoxin can be assayed by using a mouse bioassay, ELISA, and antibody radioimmunoassay (RIA). Liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, and ELISA techniques have been developed for domoic acid. [12]

A mass spectrometry assay was used to quantify saxitoxin and neosaxitoxin in human urine samples, with results suggesting that few false-positive outcomes would occur when attempting to identify people exposed to these toxins. [13]