Azaspiracids (AZAs) are marine phycotoxins with an unknown mechanism of action, implicated in human intoxications. We investigated the effect of azaspiracid-1 (AZA-1) on the cytosolic calcium concentration ([Ca2+]c), intracellular pH (pHi), and neuron viability in neuronal cultures. AZA-1 increased [Ca2+]c and decreased neuronal viability. The effects of several fragments of the AZA-1 molecule (13 different chemical structures) were examined. The ent-ABCD-azaspiracid-1 (2) showed similar potency to AZA-1 (1) in increasing [Ca2+]c but higher cytotoxity than AZA-1. The chemical structures containing only the ABCD or the ABCDE ring domains (3-8) caused a [Ca2+]c increase but did not alter cell viability. The compounds containing only the FGHI ring domain of AZA-1 (9-14) did not modify the [Ca2+]c or the cell viability. Therefore, the effect of AZA-1 on [Ca2+]c depends on the presence of the ABCD or the ABCDE-ring structure, but the complete chemical structure is needed to produce neurotoxic effects.