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Biomed Environ Sci. 1988 Dec;1(4):414-23.

Solanum malacoxylon: a toxic plant which affects animal calcium metabolism.

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Departamento de Biología, Universidad Nacional del Sur, Bahía Blanca, Argentina.


The "enteque seco" is a disease of calcinosis, i.e., pathological deposition of calcium phosphate in soft tissues, which occurs in grazing cattle in Argentina and is of considerable economic importance. The ingestion of leaves of Solanum malacoxylon has been identified as the cause of the disease. Hypercalcemia and/or hyperphosphatemia and mineralization of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems are usually seen in bovines or experimental animals exposed to this plant. The symptoms of the disease resemble those of vitamin D intoxication. In agreement with these observations, a glycoside derivative of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3), the hormonally active form of vitamin D in animals, has been identified as the toxic principle of S. malacoxylon. Glycoside conjugates of its precursors, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and vitamin D3, may also be present. Recent studies indicate that the plant factor is modified in the rumen of bovines through cleavage of the glycosidic linkage and further conversion of the released 1,25(OH)2D3 to a more polar metabolite, possibly 1,24,25-trihydroxyvitamin D3. Excess free 1,25(OH)2D3 may alter extracellular and intracellular Ca homeostasis in intoxicated animals through a receptor-mediated mechanism and activation of membrane Ca channels. In addition, 1,24,25(OH)3D3 may potentiate the effects of 1,25(OH)2D3 on intestinal Ca transport.

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