Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Chem. 1996 Oct;42(10):1654-8.

Inhibition of Na,K-ATPase by oleandrin and oleandrigenin, and their detection by digoxin immunoassays.

Author information

Department of Pathology, University of Louisville School of Medicine, KY 40292, USA.


Ingestion of oleander plant, containing the cardiac glycoside oleandrin, has been reported to induce fatal poisonings. Derivatives of oleandrin are structurally similar to digoxin. We investigated the cross-reactivities of oleandrin and its aglycone metabolite, oleandrigenin, in several commercially available digoxin immunoassays; assessed their ability to inhibit Na,K-ATPase catalytic activity; and measured their binding to proteins in serum. As assayed with ACS:180, Stratus, RIA, On-Line, and TDx digoxin assays, oleandrin at 100 micromol/L in digoxin-free serum gave apparent digoxin values of 0, 0.83, 2.24, 2.37, and 5.34 nmol/L, respectively, whereas oleandrigenin at that concentration gave results of 0, 0.52, 0.77, 4.94, and 1.40 nmol/L. Study of Na,K-ATPase inhibition showed IC50 values (micromol/L) of 0.22 for ouabain, 0.62 for oleandrin, 1.23 for oleandrigenin, and 2.69 for digoxin. At 25 degrees C, 96% of oleandrin and 48% of oleandrigenin were bound to serum proteins. Because detection of oleandrin and oleandrigenin by digoxin immunoassays is variable between assays as well as between congeners, assessment of cross-reactivity is warranted for each assay. The inhibition of Na,K-ATPase by oleandrin and oleandrigenin confirms that they likely exert their toxic effects through inhibition of sodium pump activity. In cases of digitalis-like poisoning with suspicion of oleander ingestion, a combination of digoxin immunoassays may be useful to effectively rule out the presence of oleander.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center