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Cytotoxicity and Accumulation of Ergot Alkaloids in Human Primary Cells.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21295106     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Ergot alkaloids are secondary metabolites produced by fungi of the species Claviceps. Toxic effects after consumption of contaminated grains are described since mediaeval times. Of the more than 40 known ergot alkaloids six are found predominantly. These are ergotamine, ergocornine, ergocryptine, ergocristine, ergosine and ergometrine, along with their corresponding isomeric forms (-inine-forms). Toxic effects are known to be induced by an interaction of the ergot alkaloids as neurotransmitters, like dopamine or serotonin. Nevertheless data concerning cytotoxic effects are missing and therefore a screening of the six main ergot alkaloids was performed in human primary cells in order to evaluate the toxic potential. As it is well known that ergot alkaloids isomerize easily the stability was tested in the cell medium. Based on these results factors were calculated to correct the used concentration values to the biologically active lysergic (-ine) form. These factors range from 1.4 for the most stable compound ergometrine to 5.0 for the most unstable ergot alkaloid ergocristine. With these factors, reflecting the instability, several controverse literature data concerning the toxicity could be explained. To evaluate the cytotoxic effects of ergot alkaloids, human cells in primary culture were used. These cells remain unchanged in contrast to cell lines and the data allow a better comparison to the in vivo situation than using immortalized cell lines. To characterize the effects on primary cells, renal proximal tubule epithelial cells (RPTEC) and normal human astrocytes (NHA) were used. The parameters necrosis (LDH-release) and apoptosis (caspase-3-activation, DNA condensation and fragmentation) were distinguished. The results show that depending on the individual structure of the peptide ergot alkaloids the toxic properties change. While ergometrine as a lysergic acid amide did not show any effect, the peptide ergot alkaloids revealed a different toxic potential. Of all tested ergot alkaloids ergocristine was the most cytotoxic compound inducing apoptosis in human kidney cells starting at a concentration of 1 μM in RPTEC. Uptake studies underline the cytotoxic properties, with an accumulation of peptide ergot alkaloids and no uptake of ergometrine. The results represent a new description of effects of ergot alkaloids regarding cytotoxicity and accumulation in human primary cells. For the first time apoptosis has been identified besides well described receptor effects. This gives a hint for a more complex mode of action of ergot alkaloids than described in literature so far.
Dennis Mulac; Hans-Ulrich Humpf
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-2-1
Journal Detail:
Title:  Toxicology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1879-3185     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-2-7     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0361055     Medline TA:  Toxicology     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
NRW Graduate School of Chemistry Universität Münster, Wilhelm-Klemm-Strasse 10, D-48149 Münster, Germany; Institut für Lebensmittelchemie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany.
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