Pulmonary and hepatic lesions caused by the dehydropyrrolizidine alkaloid-producing plants Crotalaria juncea and Crotalaria retusa in donkeys

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The effects and susceptibility of donkeys to Crotalaria juncea and Crotalaria retusa poisoning were determined at high and low doses. Seeds of C. juncea containing 0.074% of dehydropyrrolizidine alkaloids (DHPAs) (isohemijunceines 0.05%, trichodesmine 0.016%, and junceine 0.008%) were administered to three donkeys at 0.3, 0.6 and 1g/kg body weight (g/kg) daily for 365 days. No clinical signs were observed and, on liver and lung biopsies, the only lesion was a mild liver megalocytosis in the donkeys ingesting 0.6 and 1g/kg/day. Two other donkeys that received daily doses of 3 and 5g seed/kg showed initial respiratory signs 70 and 40 days after the start of the administration, respectively. The donkeys were euthanized following severe respiratory signs and the main lung lesions were proliferation of Clara cells and interstitial fibrosis. Three donkeys ingested seeds of C. retusa containing 5.99% of monocrotaline at daily doses of 0.025, 0.05 and 0.1g/kg for 365 days. No clinical signs were observed and, on liver and lung biopsies, the only lesion was moderate liver megalocytosis in each of the three donkeys. One donkey that received a single dose of 5g/kg of C. retusa seeds and another that received 1g/kg daily for 7 days both showed severe clinical signs and died with diffuse centrilobular liver necrosis. No lung lesions were observed. Another donkey that received a single dose of 2.5g/kg of C. retusa seeds showed no clinical signs. The hepatic and pneumotoxic effects observed are consistent with an etiology involving DHPAs. Furthermore, the occurrence of lung or liver lesions correlates with the type of DHPAs contained in the seeds. Similarly as has been reported for horses, the data herein suggest that in donkeys some DHPAs are metabolized in the liver causing liver disease, whereas others are metabolized in the lung by Clara cells causing lung disease. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.




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Toxicon, v. 71, p. 113-120.

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