Effect of consumption of the pyrrolizidine alkaloid containing plant senecio jacobaea on iron and copper metabolism in the rat
Swick, R.A.; Cheeke, P.R.; Miranda, L.; Buhler, D.R.
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health 10(4-5): 757-768
The effect of dietary tansy ragwort (S. jacobaea), a plant containing pyrrolizidine alkaloid (PA), on mineral metabolism in rats was studied. In experiment [exp.] 1, rats were fed a dietary level of 5% tansy ragwort. At intervals of 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8 wks, animals were killed and tissue mineral levels determined. As compared to controls, rats fed tansy ragwort showed elevated liver and spleen Cu levels by 6 wk, and a trend to increased Fe levels. Exp. 2 was a 3 .times. 4 factorial experiment with added dietary Cu levels of 0, 50 and 250 ppm, and tansy ragwort levels of 1, 1, 2.5 and 5%. Liver Cu levels increased markedly with increasing levels of tansy ragwort and supplemental Cu; at 0, 50 and 250 ppm added Cu, liver Cu levels were 4, 18 and 21-fold greater in rats fed 5% tansy ragwort as compared to those with no tansy ragwort. Increases in spleen Cu were noted with 5% tansy ragwort and supplemental Cu. Higher liver Cu levels were observed when a casein-based diet rather than a soybean-meal diet was used, suggesting an effect of phytate in soybean meal in reducing Cu absorption. In the last experiment, 59Fe was administered to rats fed diets with or without tansy ragwort. After 5 wk on tansy ragwort, rats showed low levels of 59Fe in erythrocytes, tibia and liver, and elevated levels in the spleen, suggesting an impairment of hematopoesis or accelerated erythrocyte destruction as a result of PA consumption. PA caused increased liver Cu content and disturbances in Fe metabolism.