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Food Chem Toxicol. 2000 Nov;38(11):985-90.

Toxicological evaluation of New Zealand deer velvet powder. Part I: acute and subchronic oral toxicity studies in rats.

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Natural & Complementary Medicine Research, School of Pharmacy, University of Otago, PO Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand.


Potential toxic effects of acute and subchronic dosage regimens of deer velvet powder have been assessed in rats following OECD guidelines. In the acute study, rats of both sexes were exposed to a single dose of 2 g/kg body weight. There was no mortality or other signs of toxicity during 14 days' observation. Furthermore, no significant alteration either in relative organ weights or their histology was discernible at terminal autopsy. In the 90-day subchronic study, deer velvet was administered in 1 g/kg daily doses by gavage to rats. A control group of rats received water only. There was no effect on body weight, food consumption, clinical signs, haematology and most parameters of blood chemistry including carbohydrate metabolism, liver and kidney function. No significant differences were seen between the mean organ weights of the adrenal, kidney and brain in rats treated with deer velvet and control rats. However, there was a significant difference (P<0.05) in the group mean relative liver weight (3.52 +/- 0.30 vs 3.81 +/- 0.26 g/100 g body weight) of deer velvet-treated and control male rats. The gross necropsy and pathological examination of rats treated with deer velvet did not reveal any abnormalities in tissue morphology. Based on these results, it may be concluded that rats had no deer velvet treatment-related toxicological and histopathological abnormalities at the doses administered, despite the observed minor changes in liver weight.

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