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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

FDA Poisonous Plant Database

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AUTHOR(S): Jernigan, A. D.; Booth, N. H.; Robbins, J. D.; Zahner, J. M.
TITLE: Effect of yohimbine hydrochloride on serum prolactin concentration in the rat: possible antagonist for fescue toxicosis.
YEAR: 1986 CITATION: Am J Vet Res, 47(4), 949-952 [English]
FDA #: F12993
ABSTRACT: Yohimbine hydrochloride is an indole alkaloid which blocks alpha 2-adrenergic and dopamine receptors and stimulates serotonergic receptors. Yohimbine was selected for testing as a possible antagonist in fescue toxicosis. Reduced body weight gains in cattle with chronic fescue toxicosis may be due to ergot alkaloids produced by fungi which infect the fescue grass. Ergot alkaloids stimulate dopamine receptors, antagonize serotonin, and lower serum prolactin concentrations. It was hypothesized that yohimbine may reverse or counteract the effects of the toxic fescue. Investigation was made of the treatment effects of multiple doses of yohimbine given in rats by intraperitoneal and oral routes. Given intraperitoneally once a day for 8 days, yohimbine hydrochloride increased serum prolactin concentrations. When given orally in feed for 7 days, the drug decreased the serum prolactin concentration. The effects of yohimbine on prolactin concentrations were dependent on the dosages and routes of administration. The inability of yohimbine, when given orally, to increase serum prolactin levels decreased its potential usefulness for prolonged treatment of fescue toxicosis.