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Influence of 7,8-methylenedioxylycoctonine–type alkaloids on the toxic effects associated with ingestion of tall larkspur (Delphinium spp) in cattle

Welch, Kevin D., Green, Benedict T., Gardner, Dale R., Cook, Daniel, Pfister, James A., Stegelmeier, Bryan L., Panter, Kip E., Davis, T. Zane
American journal of veterinary research 2010 v.71 no.4 pp. 487
cattle, cattle diseases, poisoning, poisonous plants, Delphinium barbeyi, pathogenesis, natural toxicants, toxic substances, chemical constituents of plants, alkaloids, varieties, strain differences, toxicity, toxicity testing, dosage, chemical composition, Delphinium, dose response, disease severity, dietary exposure, oral administration
Objective--To determine the contribution of 7,8-methylenedioxylycoctonine (MDL)–type alkaloids to the toxic effects of tall larkspur (Delphinium spp) consumption in cattle. Animals--Sixteen 2-year-old Angus steers. Procedures--Plant material from 3 populations of tall larkspur that contained different concentration ratios of MDL-type-to-N-(methylsuccinimido) anthranoyllycoctonine (MSAL)–type alkaloids was collected, dried, and finely ground. For each plant population, a dose of ground plant material that would elicit similar clinical signs of toxicosis in cattle after oral administration was determined on the basis of the plants' MSAL-type alkaloid concentration. Cattle were treated via oral gavage with single doses of ground plant material from each of the 3 populations of tall larkspur; each animal underwent 1 to 3 single-dose treatments (> = 21-day interval between treatments). Heart rate was recorded immediately before (baseline) and 24 hours after each larkspur treatment. Results--Tall larkspur populations with a lower MDL-type-to-MSAL-type alkaloid concentration ratio required a greater amount of MSAL-type alkaloids to cause the expected clinical signs of toxicosis (including increased heart rate) in cattle. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance--Results indicated that the typically less toxic MDL-type alkaloids contributed in a significant manner to the toxic effects of tall larkspur in steers. Consequently, both the concentration of MSAL-type alkaloids and the total concentration of MSAL- and MDL-type alkaloids should be determined when assessing the relative toxicity of tall larkspur populations. These results provide valuable information to determine the risk of toxicosis in cattle grazing on tall larkspur–infested rangelands.