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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Poisonous Plant Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #315212

Research Project: Understanding and Mitigating the Adverse Effects of Poisonous Plants on Livestock Production Systems

Location: Poisonous Plant Research

Title: The relative toxicity of Delphinium stachydeum in mice and cattle

Author
item Cook, Daniel
item Welch, Kevin
item Green, Benedict - Ben
item Gardner, Dale
item Pfister, James
item Constantino, John
item Stonecipher, Clinton - Clint

Submitted to: Toxicon
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/11/2015
Publication Date: 3/13/2015
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/62821
Citation: Cook, D., Welch, K.D., Green, B.T., Gardner, D.R., Pfister, J.A., Constantino, J., Stonecipher, C.A. 2015. The relative toxicity of Delphinium stachydeum in mice and cattle. Toxicon. 99:36-43.

Interpretive Summary: Larkspurs (Delphinium spp.) are poisonous plants on rangelands through the Western United States and Canada. Larkspur-induced poisoning in cattle is due to norditerpene alkaloids that are represented by two main structural groups of norditerpene alkaloids, the N-(methylsuccinimido) anthranoyllycoctonine type (MSAL-type) and the non-MSAL type. Information on the alkaloid composition and resulting toxicity in cattle is lacking for a number of Delphinium species, including D. stachydeum. The objective of this study was to determine the alkaloid composition of D. stachydeum and to characterize its relative toxicity in cattle compared to two reference species D. barbeyi and D. occidentale. D. stachydeum contains the non-MSAL-type alkaloids but not the MSAL-type alkaloids. D. stachydeum was less toxic than the MSAL-containing D. barbeyi but much more toxic than the non-MSAL-containing D. occidentale in cattle as measured by heart rate and time of exercise. These results indicate that predictions of Delphinium toxicity cannot be accurately made on the absence of the MSAL-type alkaloids in the plant.

Technical Abstract: Larkspurs (Delphinium spp.) are poisonous plants on rangelands throughout the Western United States and Canada. Larkspur-induced poisoning in cattle is due to norditerpene alkaloids that are represented by two main structural groups of norditerpene alkaloids, the N-(methylsuccinimido) anthranoyllycoctonine type (MSAL-type) and the non-MSAL type. Information on the alkaloid composition and resulting toxicity in mice and cattle is lacking for a number of Delphinium composition and resulting toxicity in mice and cattle is lacking for a number of Delphinium species, including D. stachydeum. The objective of this study was to determine the alkaloid compositon of D. stachydeum and to characterize its relative toxicity in mice and cattle compared to two reference species D. barbeyi and D. occidentale. D. stachydeum contains the non-MSAL-type alkaloids but not the MSAL-type alkaloids. D. stachydeum was less toxic than D. barbeyi and D. occidentale in the mouse model. D. stachydeum was less toxic than the MSAL-containing D. barbeyi but much more toxic than the non-MSAL-containing D. occidentale in cattle as measured by heart rate and time of exercise. These results indicate that predictions of Delphinium toxicity cannot be accurately made based solely on results from the mouse model or the absence of the MSAL-type alkaloids in the plant.