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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item James, Lynn
item Panter, Kip
item Gaffield Jr, William
item Molyneux, Russell

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/5/2004
Publication Date: 4/30/2004
Citation: James, L.F., Panter, K.E., Gaffield Jr, W.P., Molyneux, R.J. 2004. Biomedical applications of poisonous plant research. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 52(11):3211-3230.

Interpretive Summary: The usefulness to human medicine of information gained from studies of poisoning of livestock by plants is reviewed. Examples are drawn from Western false hellebore, lupine and locoweed investigations. The knowledge that has resulted from understanding the way in which these plants can poison animals has resulted in comparable knowledge of human diseases such as birth defects and genetic defects, as well as providing leads for new type of drugs for treatment of cancers, viral infections and parasites.

Technical Abstract: Research designed to isolate and identify the bioactive compounds responsible for the toxicity of plants to livestock which graze them has been extremely successful. The knowledge gained has been used to design management techniques to prevent economic losses, predict potential outbreaks of poisoning, and to treat affected animals. The availability of these compounds in pure form has now provided scientists with tools to develop animal models for human diseases, study modes of action at the molecular level, and apply such knowledge to the development of potential drug candidates for treatment of a number of genetic and infectious conditions. These advances are illustrated by specific examples of biomedical applications of the toxins of Veratrum californicum (western false hellebore), Lupinus species (lupines), and Astragalus and Oxytropis species (locoweeds).

Last Modified: 06/26/2017
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