Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids

Publication Title: 
Journal of Ethnopharmacology

Seventy five medicinal plants of the traditional Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia of Sri Lanka have been screened chemically for alkaloids and pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Of these, Crotolaria juncea L. was found to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids with biological effects consistent with pyrrolizidine alkaloid toxicity. Feeding trials in rats with three plants lacking pyrrolizidine alkaloids, namely Aegle marmelos (L.) Corr., Hemidesmus indicus (L.) Ait. F. and Terminalia chebula Retz.

Author(s): 
Arseculeratne, S. N.
Gunatilaka, A. A.
Panabokke, R. G.
Publication Title: 
Molecular Ecology

Many herbivorous insects sequester defensive chemicals from their host plants. We tested sequestration fitness costs in the specialist moth Utetheisa ornatrix (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae). We added pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) to an artificial diet at different concentrations. Of all the larval and adult fitness components measured, only development time was negatively affected by PA concentration. These results were repeated under stressful laboratory conditions. On the other hand, the amount of PAs sequestered greatly increased with the diet PA concentration.

Author(s): 
Cogni, Rodrigo
Trigo, JosÈ R.
Futuyma, Douglas J.
Publication Title: 
Cancer Treatment Reports

Indicine N-oxide is a pyrrolizidine alkaloid isolated from Heliotropium indicum, one of the widely used herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. Thirty-seven patients with solid tumors received the drug: 15 men and 22 women (mean age, 53 years). All had had prior chemotherapy, and 25 had had prior radiotherapy. Eighty-four percent had a performance status of 0-3 (Cancer and Leukemia Group B criteria). The drug was given as a short infusion over 15 minutes and repeated with a median interval of 4 weeks. Doses were escalated from 1 to 9 g/m2. A total of 55 courses were evaluable.

Author(s): 
Ohnuma, T.
Sridhar, K. S.
Ratner, L. H.
Holland, J. F.
Publication Title: 
Journal of Ethnopharmacology

Seventy five medicinal plants of the traditional Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia of Sri Lanka have been screened chemically for alkaloids and pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Of these, Crotolaria juncea L. was found to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids with biological effects consistent with pyrrolizidine alkaloid toxicity. Feeding trials in rats with three plants lacking pyrrolizidine alkaloids, namely Aegle marmelos (L.) Corr., Hemidesmus indicus (L.) Ait. F. and Terminalia chebula Retz.

Author(s): 
Arseculeratne, S. N.
Gunatilaka, A. A.
Panabokke, R. G.
Publication Title: 
Die Pharmazie

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) show a hazardous potential for humans and animals. They can possess mutagenic, teratogenic, cancerogenic and fetotoxic properties. One pathway of a human intoxication can be the use of medicinal plants which contain toxic PAs. The Traditional Indian medicine--in particular Ayurveda--is a popular and well-known healing system. Within this system several PA-containing plants are used which, on account of their PA level, represent a severe health risk. In general, it is not recommended to use plants containing those toxic compounds.

Author(s): 
Roeder, E.
Wiedenfeld, H.
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