Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Toxicon. 1994 Apr;32(4):461-6.

From soil to brain: zinc deficiency increases the neurotoxicity of Lathyrus sativus and may affect the susceptibility for the motorneurone disease neurolathyrism.

Author information

  • 1Laboratory of Physiological Chemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Gent, Belgium.


Zinc deficiency and oversupply of iron to the roots of grass pea (Lathyrus sativus) induce increases in the content of the neurotoxin beta-L-ODAP (3-oxalyl-L-2,3-diaminopropanoic acid) in the ripe seeds. The transport of zinc to the shoots is enhanced by the addition of beta-L-ODAP. The neurotoxin of L. sativus is proposed to function as a carrier molecule for zinc ions. Soils, depleted in micronutrients from flooding by monsoon rains (Indian subcontinent) or otherwise poor in available zinc and with high iron content (Ethiopian vertisols), may be responsible for higher incidence of human lathyrism, one of the oldest neurotoxic diseases known to man. A role for brain zinc deficiency in the susceptibility for lathyrism is postulated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center