Toxicity of plant extracts containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids using alternative invertebrate models

Seremet, Oana, Olaru, Octavian, Gutu, Claudia, Nitulescu, George, Ilie, Mihaela, Negres, Simona, Zbarcea, Cristina, Purdel, Carmen, Spandidos, Demetrios, Tsatsakis, Aristides, Coleman, Michael and Margina, Denisa (2018). Toxicity of plant extracts containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids using alternative invertebrate models. Molecular Medicine Reports, 17 (6), pp. 7757-7763.


Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are a widespread class of hepatotoxic heterocyclic organic compounds found in approximately 3% of world flora. Some PAs have been shown to have genotoxic and carcinogenic effects. The present study focuses on the toxicity effects of four dry extracts obtained from medicinal plants (Senecio vernalis, Symphytum officinale, Petasites hybridus and Tussilago farfara), on two aquatic organisms, Artemia salina and Daphnia magna, and the correlation with their PAs content. A new GC‑MS method, using a retention time (TR)‑5MS type capillary column was developed. PAs Kovats retention indices, for this type of column were computed for the first time. The lethal dose 50% (LC50) values for the two invertebrate models were correlated (Pearson 's coefficient, >0.9) and the toxicity was PA concentration-dependent, for three of the four extracts. All tested extracts were found to be toxic in both aquatic organism models. The results can be used to develop a GC‑MS validated method for the assay of PAs in medicinal plants with a further potential application in the risk assessment study of PAs toxicity in humans.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: Life & Health Sciences > Pharmacy
Life & Health Sciences > Chronic and Communicable Conditions
Life & Health Sciences
Life & Health Sciences > Cellular and Molecular Biomedicine
Additional Information: © Seremet et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) The authors acknowledge the financial support offered by UEFISCDI (Romania ‑ grant no. 8BM/2016) and NRF (South Africa), through the Romania ‑ South Africa Joint Collaboration.
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Related URLs: ... 2/mmr.2018.8795 (Publisher URL)
Published Online Date: 2018-03-27
Authors: Seremet, Oana
Olaru, Octavian
Gutu, Claudia
Nitulescu, George
Ilie, Mihaela
Negres, Simona
Zbarcea, Cristina
Purdel, Carmen
Spandidos, Demetrios
Tsatsakis, Aristides
Coleman, Michael
Margina, Denisa

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