Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Poisonous Plant Research: Biomedical Applications

Authors
item James, Lynn
item Panter, Kip
item Gaffield Jr, William
item Molyneux, Russell
item Weinzweig, J - RI HOSPITAL & BROWN UNIV.

Submitted to: Poisonous Plants Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 20, 2003
Publication Date: November 1, 2003
Citation: James, L.F., Panter, K.E., Gaffield Jr, W.P., Molyneux, R.J., Weinzweig, J. 2003. Poisonous plant research: biomedical applications. Poisonous Plants Symposium Proceedings.

Interpretive Summary: Research at the Poisonous Plant Research Lab is primarily focused on solving plant poisoning problems in the livestock industry. However, spin off benefits of this research in livestock and the discovery and characterization of the natural toxins found in some poisonous plants have found their way into biomedical applications in human research. Examples of biomedical applications include the steroidal alkaloid cyclopamine from Veratrum californicum, responsible for grotesque facial deformities in sheep. Cyclopamine and it's derivatives have become important tools in the study of a significant human gene pathway known as Sonic hedgehog. Sonic hedgehog is a key link in the genetic chain regulating growth and development of early embryos and is a critical pathway in growth of certain cancers in humans. Other toxins such as the polyhydroxy alkaloids found in locoweeds and other plants have considerable potential for treatment of a variety of diseases in humans and animals. Research on the lupine-induced "crooked calf syndrome" using a goat model has important application in elucidation of the mechanism of cleft palate in humans. This model has important biomedical applications in the study of the etiology and management and treatment of cleft palate in humans.

Technical Abstract: Research at the Poisonous Plant Research Lab is primarily focused on solving plant poisoning problems in the livestock industry. However, spin off benefits of this research in livestock and the discovery and characterization of the natural toxins found in some poisonous plants have found their way into biomedical applications in human research. Examples of biomedical applications include the steroidal alkaloid cyclopamine from Veratrum californicum, responsible for grotesque facial deformities in sheep. Cyclopamine and it's derivatives have become important tools in the study of a significant human gene pathway known as Sonic hedgehog. Sonic hedgehog is a key link in the genetic chain regulating growth and development of early embryos and is a critical pathway in growth of certain cancers in humans. Other toxins such as the polyhydroxy alkaloids found in locoweeds and other plants have considerable potential for treatment of a variety of diseases in humans and animals. Research on the lupine-induced "crooked calf syndrome" using a goat model has important application in elucidation of the mechanism of cleft palate in humans. This model has important biomedical applications in the study of the etiology and management and treatment of cleft palate in humans.

Last Modified: 11/25/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page