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Food Chem Toxicol. 2018 Jun;116(Pt B):346-353. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2018.04.022. Epub 2018 Apr 10.

Atropa belladonna neurotoxicity: Implications to neurological disorders.

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Department of Neuroscience, Oberlin College, Oberlin OH, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Neuroscience, Oberlin College, Oberlin OH, USA.
Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA. Electronic address:


Atropa belladonna, commonly known as belladonna or deadly nightshade, ranks among one of the most poisonous plants in Europe and other parts of the world. The plant contains tropane alkaloids including atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine, which are used as anticholinergics in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs and homeopathic remedies. These alkaloids can be very toxic at high dose. The FDA has recently reported that Hyland's baby teething tablets contain inconsistent amounts of Atropa belladonna that may have adverse effects on the nervous system and cause death in children, thus recalled the product in 2017. A greater understanding of the neurotoxicity of Atropa belladonna and its modification of genetic polymorphisms in the nervous system is critical in order to develop better treatment strategies, therapies, regulations, education of at-risk populations, and a more cohesive paradigm for future research. This review offers an integrated view of the homeopathy and neurotoxicity of Atropa belladonna in children, adults, and animal models as well as its implications to neurological disorders. Particular attention is dedicated to the pharmaco/toxicodynamics, pharmaco/toxicokinetics, pathophysiology, epidemiological cases, and animal studies associated with the effects of Atropa belladonna on the nervous system. Additionally, we discuss the influence of active tropane alkaloids in Atropa belladonna and other similar plants on FDA-approved therapeutic drugs for treatment of neurological disorders.


Atropa belladonna; Atropine; Deadly nightshade; Hyoscyamine; Neurological disorders; Neurotoxicity; Scopolamine; Teething drugs

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