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Subchronic toxicity and concomitant toxicokinetics of long-term oral administration of total alkaloid extracts from seeds of Peganum harmala Linn: A 28-day study in rats

Wang, Youxu, Wang, Hanxue, Zhang, Liuhong, Zhang, Yunpeng, Sheng, Yuchen, Deng, Gang, Li, Shuping, Cao, Ning, Guan, Huida, Cheng, Xuemei, Wang, Changhong
Journal of ethnopharmacology 2019 v.238 pp. 111866
Alzheimer disease, Peganum harmala, absorption, active ingredients, alkaloids, asthma, blood, body weight, brain, cough, drugs, excretion, food consumption, gender differences, hematology, histopathology, lipid metabolism, liver, metabolites, mortality, neurotoxicity, no observed adverse effect level, oral administration, pharmacokinetics, rats, seeds, subchronic toxicity, tissue distribution, tissues, traditional medicine, urine
The seeds of Peganum harmala Linn, in which the most abundant active compounds are harmaline and harmine, have been widely used as a traditional medicine in various countries to treat a broad spectrum of diseases including asthma, cough, depression, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. However, few studies on long-term or subchronic toxicity of seeds of P. harmala were reported after overdose.To investigate the subchronic toxicity and concomitant toxicokinetics of total alkaloid extracts from seeds of P. harmala (TAEP) after oral administration for four weeks in rats.The subchronic toxicity and concomitant toxicokinetics of TAEP were evaluated after 28-day oral administration in rats at daily dose levels of 15, 45, and 150 mg/kg. The signs of toxicity and mortality were monitored and recorded daily. The body weight and average food consumption were measured weekly. The analyses of hematology, biochemistry, urine, relative organ weights and histopathology were conducted at the termination of treatment and recovery phase. For concomitant toxicokinetics study, the plasma toxicokinetic parameters, tissue distribution, and excretion of predominant ingredients harmaline and harmine in TAEP and metabolites harmalol and harmol were tested.Following initial repeated exposure to high-dose (150 mg/kg/day) of TAEP excitotoxic reaction, such as tremor, was observed, but tolerated on the fourth day after multiple dosing. The significant alterations in blood glucose and lipid metabolism in liver were observed, but recovered after four weeks of drug withdrawal. The no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) of TAEP was considered to be 45 mg/kg/day under the present study conditions. There were no significant gender differences in most indexes of subchronic toxicity throughout the experimental period with the exception of food consumption and body weight. In concomitant toxicokinetics study, the alterations of dynamic characteristic for harmaline, harmine and metabolite harmol after multiple oral administration at three doses had been observed. Harmaline, harmine and metabolites harmalol and harmol were widely distributed in organs and there was no accumulation in the tissues examined. The reduction of harmaline and metabolite harmalol in brain after multiple dosing at dose of 150 mg/kg might be closely related to the tremor tolerance. The main excretory pathway for metabolites harmalol and harmol was urinary excretion via kidney.The results revealed that TAEP at doses of 15 and 45 mg/kg/day in rats might be safe. Excitotoxic reaction such as tremor occurred initially at dose of 150 mg/kg/day, however, the toxicity was tolerant and reversible. In addition, harmaline and harmine in TAEP had a quick absorption into blood and metabolized to harmalol and harmol, and there was no drug accumulation in the detected tissues. Further studies should be investigated to clarify the mechanisms of tremor tolerance and neurotoxicity of TAEP.