This in vitro research project aimed to investigate the nature of the toxic effects of atypical cockle extracts by examining the possibility that the extract may affect cell receptors of the mammalian nervous system.
<p>This project aimed to elucidate the possible neurotoxic effects of atypical cockle extracts.
To this end, in vitro competitive binding studies were carried out, which measured the ability of substances found in cockle extracts to bind to 16 different types of neurotransmitter receptors of the central and peripheral nervous system.
For each receptor type the binding ability of atypical cockle extract was, firstly, compared with the binding ability of cockle extract that provoked no atypical response and, secondly, with the binding ability of a blank that contained no cockle extract.
<p>The study was set up to provide information to complement the data obtained in a parallel neurotoxicity study (B16004).
Since June 2001, atypical responses have been observed during the Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) assay used within the UK statutory biotoxin monitoring programme.
These have occurred primarily from cockles from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but also from small numbers of mussels from England and Wales.
<p>This project examined the potential binding of substances in cockle extracts that give rise to the atypical response in the mouse bioassay (MBA) to a wide-range of receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems of rodents.
The final report, "<a href="http://www.foodbase.org.uk/results.php?f_report_id=193" target="_new">Sixteen in Vitro Neurotransmitter Receptor Competitive Binding Studies on Cockle Extracts</a>" is available at Foodbase, an open access repository of the <acronym title="Food Standards Agency">FSA</acronym>.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.