Rapid CDIATM Anatoxin-a kits are intended for the detection of Anatoxin-a in water.
Anatoxin-a is an alkaloid neurotoxin produced by some species of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). It is one of the most toxic of the cyanobacterial toxins. In humans and other animals, the skeletal neuromuscular junction constitutes a primary target for Anatoxin-a (Anatoxin-a can also cross the blood-brain barrier). The neuromuscular junction is specialized for the rapid transmission of neuronal information from the pre-synaptic nerve terminal to the post-synaptic muscle fiber. This transmission is mediated by the synchronous release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh), which activates nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the muscle endplate, triggering a series of events that lead to muscle contraction. Most ACh molecules are hydrolyzed by acetylcholinesterases, which are highly concentrated at the neuromuscular junction. Anatoxin-a functions as an agonist of nAChRs, like ACh, but is about 20 times more potent. Unlike ACh, it is not degraded by acetylcholinesterases and produces sustained depolarization of the muscle endplate, causing overstimulation of the muscles, leading to muscle fatigue and ultimately paralysis. Symptoms begin within 5 minutes of ingestion of Anatoxin-a and progress rapidly, resulting in cyanosis, convulsions, cardiac arrhythmia, and respiratory paralysis, which ultimately results in death due to suffocation.
Humans and other animals may be exposed to Anatoxin-a through ingestion of contaminated water, through drinking or during recreational activities in which water is swallowed. Due to the potential for serious harm and even death, many countries are expanding monitoring programs to include Anatoxin-a and are establishing regulations regarding the amount of Anatoxin-a in drinking and recreational waters. New Zealand is among those taking regulatory action, establishing a 6.0 μg/L provisional maximum acceptable value (MAV) for Anatoxin-a, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be announcing drinking and recreational water health advisories.