Tetrodotoxin (TTX)

Characteristics

Natural Source TTX naturally occurs in the skin, intestine and liver of some fish in the order Tetraodontidae. Examples include puffer fish, porcupine fish, ocean sunfish, and some species of newts and salamanders.
Laboratory Source Isolated toxin
Characteristics

The toxin is a chemical with a molecular formula of C11H17N3O8. The formula weight is 319.27. TTX is a neurotoxin that blocks the flow of sodium ions in sodium channels. This blocks the conduction of nerve impulses.

Health Hazards

Route of Entry

Inhalation, ingestion, absorption, and injection

Signs and Symptoms

Paresthaesias, dizziness, gastrointestinal symptoms, and ataxia. Toxication can progress to paralysis and death within hours of ingesting the naturally occurring toxin. 

Toxicity Dose Data

Median LD50 for humans is 334 μg/kg

Medical Precautions/Treatment

Diagnosis No rapid diagnostic assays are currently available.
Prophylaxis None available
Vaccines None available

Treatment

No antidote available. Administer supportive care (artificial respiration to support breathing).

Emory Requirements Report all exposures

Supplemental References

BMBL: 5th Edition https://www.cdc.gov/biosafety/publications/bmbl5/ 
Essentials of Toxicology Klaassen CD, Watkins JB. 2003. Casarett & Doull’s Essentials of Toxicology. New York (NY): McGraw-Hill.
Guide to Hazardous Properties Patnaik P. 2007. Guide to Hazardous Properties of Chemical Substances. 3rd Edition. Hoboken (NJ): John Wiley and Sons.
Biological Safety: Principles & Practices Flemming DO, Hunt DL. 2006. Biological Safety: Principles and Practices. 4th Edition. ASM Press.

Spill Procedures

Small Notify others working in the lab. Rinse gloves with decontamination solution and don new gloves. Cover area of the spill with paper towels and apply decontamination solution, working from the perimeter towards the center. Exit and keep others from entering the laboratory. Allow 1 hour of contact time before entering the laboratory without respiratory protection. Cleanup and dispose of spill materials
Large

Contact Emory’s Biosafety Officer (404-727-8863),
the EHSO Office (404-727-5922), or
The Spill Response Team (404-727-2888).

Exposure Procedures

Mucous membrane Flush eyes, mouth or nose for 15 minutes at eyewash station.
Other Exposures Wash area with soap and water for 15 minutes.
Reporting Immediately report incident to supervisor, complete an employee incident report in PeopleSoft.
Medical Followup 

7am-4pm (OIM): EUH (404-686-7941) EUHM (404-686-7106) WW (404-728-6431)

After Hours: OIM NP On Call 404-686-5500 PIC# 50464

Needle Stick (OIM): EUH (404-686-8587) EUHM (404-686-2352)

Yerkes: Maureen Thompson Office (404-727-8012) Cell (404-275-0963)

Viability

Decontamination

1.0 to 2.5% sodium hypochlorite 

Inactivation

Autoclaving is not an effective method of physical inactivation of TTX.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Minimum PPE Requirements At minimum, personnel are required to don gloves, closed toed shoes, lab coat, and appropriate face and eye protection prior to working with TTX. Additional PPE may be required depending on lab specific SOPs.
Additional Precautions Depending on the risk assessment, respirators may be required when working with TTX. Fit testing and training is required annually per Emory’s Respiratory Program.

Additional Requirements

Regulatory Requirements TTX is select agent and is regulated under the federal regulation 42 CFR Part 73. TTX is not regulated if the amount under the control of a principal investigator, treating physician or veterinarian, or commercial manufacturer or distributor does not exceed 100 mg, at any time. Possession of select agent toxins above the maximum amount without CDC registration is a criminal offense and punishable by up to five years in prison and/or $500,000 in fines. Please contact the Biosafety Officer if you do not have biosafety approval for working with TTX.

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