Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Microcystins and Daily Sunlight: Predictors of Chronic Liver Disease and Cirrhosis Mortality

Version 1 : Received: 21 June 2019 / Approved: 3 July 2019 / Online: 3 July 2019 (11:46:09 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.


Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) may rapidly propagate under favorable conditions, forming dense blooms. As water blooms deteriorate, blue-green algae can generate potent toxins, potentially harmful to companion animals, wildlife, and even humans. One widely recognized cyanobacterial toxin is microcystin. This algal toxin has been implicated in surface waters globally, increasing liver cancer and/or disease risk amongst those who depend on sources prone to microcystin contamination. Interestingly, no study looked at weather conditions when connecting liver health outcomes to freshwater cyanotoxins. The purpose of this study was to determine if climate was an important determinant of liver mortality and total microcystins at the ecological level. Secondary data was used to evaluate the proposed hypothesis. Environmental data (CDC WONDER) and toxin data (USEPA) were used in multivariate regression analysis. Mean daily sunlight and total microcystins were significant predictors of age-adjusted chronic liver disease and cirrhosis death rates. Mean annual precipitation and mean daily max temperature were non-significant predictors. This study demonstrated how microcystins in combination with climate may increase liver mortality. The results can prompt others to study environmental exposures of terminal liver diseases, guiding environmental health and the water industry of human survival needs.


microcystins; climatic factors; chronic liver disease and cirrhosis; daily sunlight; enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay


Environmental and Earth Sciences, Environmental Science

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