• Decrease font size
  • Return font size to normal
  • Increase font size
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Scientific Publications by FDA Staff

  • Print
  • Share
  • E-mail

Search Publications



Starting Date

Ending Date

Order by

Entry Details

Chem Res Toxicol 2017 Mar 20;30(3):851-8

Detection of pyrrolizidine alkaloid DNA adducts in livers of cattle poisoned with Heliotropium europaeum.

Fu PP, Xia Q, He X, Barel S, Edery N, Beland FA, Shimshoni JA


Pyrrolizidine alkaloids are among the most common poisonous plants affecting livestock, wildlife, and humans. Exposure of humans and livestock to toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids through the intake of contaminated food and feed may result in poisoning, leading to devastating epidemics. During February 2014, 73 mixed breed female beef cows from the Galilee region of Israel were accidently fed pyrrolizidine alkaloid contaminated hay for 42 days, resulting in the sudden death of 24 cows over a period of 63 days. The remaining cows were slaughtered 2.5 months after the last ingestion of the contaminated hay. In this study, we report the histopathological analysis of the livers from five of the slaughtered cows and quantitation of pyrrolizidine alkaloid-derived DNA adducts from their livers and three livers of control cows fed with feed free of weeds producing pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Histopathological examination revealed that the five cows suffered from varying degrees of bile duct proliferation, fibrosis, and megalocytosis. Selected reaction monitoring HPLC-ES-MS/MS analysis indicated that (+/-)-6,7-dihydro-7-hydroxy-1-hydroxymethyl-5H-pyrrolizine (DHP)-derived DNA adducts were formed in all five livers. The livers from the three control cows did not have any liver damage nor any indication of DHP-DNA adduct formed. These results confirm that the toxicity observed in these cattle was caused by pyrrolizidine alkaloid poisoning and that pyrrolizidine alkaloid-derived DNA adducts could still be detected and quantified in the livers of the chronically poisoned cows 2.5 months after their last exposure to the contaminated feed, suggesting that DHP-derived DNA adducts can serve as biomarkers for pyrrolizidine alkaloid exposure and poisoning.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #28125883 DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.6b00456
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Toxicological Research
Entry Created: 2017-06-18 Entry Last Modified: 2017-09-24