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Arch Toxicol 2017 Dec;91(12):3913-25

First evidence of pyrrolizidine alkaloid N-oxide-induced hepatic sinusoidal obstruction syndrome in humans.

Yang M, Ruan J, Gao H, Li N, Ma J, Xue J, Ye Y, Fu PP, Wang J, Lin G


Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are among the most potent phytotoxins widely distributed in plant species around the world. PA is one of the major causes responsible for the development of hepatic sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (HSOS) and exerts hepatotoxicity via metabolic activation to form the reactive metabolites, which bind with cellular proteins to generate pyrrole-protein adducts, leading to hepatotoxicity. PA N-oxides coexist with their corresponding PAs in plants with varied quantities, sometimes even higher than that of PAs, but the toxicity of PA N-oxides remains unclear. The current study unequivocally identified PA N-oxides as the sole or predominant form of PAs in 18 Gynura segetum herbal samples ingested by patients with liver damage. For the first time, PA N-oxides were recorded to induce HSOS in human. PA N-oxide-induced hepatotoxicity was further confirmed on mice orally dosed of herbal extract containing 170 mumol PA N-oxides/kg/day, with its hepatotoxicity similar to but potency much lower than the corresponding PAs. Furthermore, toxicokinetic study after a single oral dose of senecionine N-oxide (55 mumol/kg) on rats revealed the toxic mechanism that PA N-oxides induced hepatotoxicity via their biotransformation to the corresponding PAs followed by the metabolic activation to form pyrrole-protein adducts. The remarkable differences in toxicokinetic profiles of PAs and PA N-oxides were found and attributed to their significantly different hepatotoxic potency. The findings of PA N-oxide-induced hepatotoxicity in humans and rodents suggested that the contents of both PAs and PA N-oxides present in herbs and foods should be regulated and controlled in use.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #28620673 DOI: 10.1007/s00204-017-2013-y
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Toxicological Research
Entry Created: 2017-06-25 Entry Last Modified: 2017-12-31