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Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2005 Feb;41(1):66-72. Epub 2004 Dec 10.

Potato glycoalkaloids and adverse effects in humans: an ascending dose study.

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National Poisons Control Centre, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, The Netherlands.


Glycoalkaloids in potatoes may induce gastro-intestinal and systemic effects, by cell membrane disruption and acetylcholinesterase inhibition, respectively. The present single dose study was designed to evaluate the toxicity and pharmacokinetics of orally administered potato glycoalkaloids (alpha-chaconine and alpha-solanine). It is the first published human volunteer study were pharmacokinetic data were obtained for more than 24 h post-dose. Subjects (2-3 per treatment) received one of the following six treatments: (1-3) solutions with total glycoalkaloid (TGA) doses of 0.30, 0.50 or 0.70 mg/kg body weight (BW), or (4-6) mashed potatoes with TGA doses of 0.95, 1.10 or 1.25 mg/kg BW. The mashed potatoes had a TGA concentration of nearly 200 mg/kg fresh weight (the presently recognised upper limit of safety). None of these treatments induced acute systemic effects. One subject who received the highest dose of TGA (1.25 mg/kg BW) became nauseous and started vomiting about 4 h post-dose, possibly due to local glycoalkaloid toxicity (although the dosis is lower than generally reported in the literature to cause gastro-intestinal disturbances). Most relevant, the clearance of glycoalkaloids usually takes more than 24 h, which implicates that the toxicants may accumulate in case of daily consumption.

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