Impact Of Pre-Existing Liver Disease On Microcystin Hepatotoxicity

Microcystin Risks for Liver Patients

Principal Investigator

Thomas Sodeman, University of Toledo


New research at the University of Toledo will shed light on the potential liver damage that toxins from harmful algal blooms can do—and how to avoid it.

Scientists know that toxins like microcystin from harmful algal blooms in lakes and reservoirs can make people sick—in particular, by damaging liver tissue. But what they don’t yet understand is how small daily doses of microcystin—as someone would receive by drinking contaminated water—affect people who already have liver disease.
An interdisciplinary group of scientists at the University of Toledo is studying how microcystin affects people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) using rats as a surrogate for humans. Led by hepatologist Thomas Sodeman, the team will investigate how microcystin affects the liver in normal rats and rats with fatty liver. The team chose to focus on this disease because it is known to affect one-third of the people of northwest Ohio, the site of occasional water quality issues due to harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.

The End Result

More effective public health information in the case of a harmful algal bloom water quality advisory.  

Full Project Information

Read about the project at the Ohio Sea Grant website.