aflatrem mycotoxin

Aflatrem is a potent tremorgenic? toxin produced by the soil fungus Aspergillus flavus, and a member of a structurally diverse group of fungal secondary metabolites known as indole-diterpenes. Aflatrem is a natural substance that is known to induce tremors and to elicit acute neurotoxic effects in animals. It has a profound effect on the nervous system causing tremors, mental confusion, seizures and death. It has also been found to cause significant histopathological changes in the heart, liver and brain tissue of animals.


In the mid-1960s it was isolated from mycelial mats and sclerotia produced by A. flavus. Similarly to cyclopiazonic acid, it is a compound and may be produced by several strains of A. flavus grown on various foodstuffs such as oats, millet, rice potatos and corn. The production of aflatrem by A. flavus is often accompanied by aflatoxins production. Although Aspergillus flavus is describes as the main producer of this toxin it can also be produced by A. minisclerotigenes. Purified aflatrem applied in small quantities caused several behavioural changes in animals, and larger doses frequently proved fatal.

Tremorgens have been implicated in a number of neurologic diseases of cattle collectively known as staggers syndromes, and pose significant agricultural and health problems for both cattle and humans.

Other tremogenic toxins

Tremorgenic mycotoxins fit into two classes that act at the level of the central nervous system. The first class are mycotoxins that cause paralysis and respiratory arrest, e.g. Citreoviridin; and the second class causes true tremors.


Citreoviridin is produced by Penicillium citreonigrum, toxicarium, citreoviride,charlesii and ochrosalmoneum and Aspergillus terreus. It is neurotoxic? causing paralysis of limbs, vomiting, convulsions, cardiovascular damage, and respiratory arrest in mice, cats, and dogs. The toxin is present in rice in Asia and maize in the U.S. It is suspected of causing a beriberi like illness in Japan and China where rice is contaminated with the mycotoxin. Chronic exposure to contaminated cereals has been suggested as a cause of Keshan disease in China.


Penitrem mycotoxins are produced by Penicillium crustosum, cyclopium and commune. They are commonly present in various spoiled foods (meats, nuts, cheeses, eggs, fruits) and cereals. In addition, Penitrem A is neurotoxic?. Both canine and human poisoning from contaminated food have been reported.


Verruculogen is produced by Aspergillus species, the most common is A. fumigatus.. It is also produced by several species of Penicillium: piscarium, verruculosum, janthinellum and other possible species Verruculogen blocks Ca2+-activated K+ channels and inhibits GABAA receptor functions The mycotoxin also alters the electrophysiological properties of human nasal epithelia cells.