Acute toxicity of high doses of the glycoalkaloids, α-Solanine and α-Chaconine, in the Syrian golden hamster

Søren Langkilde, Malene Schrøder , Derek Stewart, Otto Meyer, Sean Conner, Howard Davies, Morten Poulsen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)


    Sprouted, stressed, or spoiled potato tubers have reportedly led to human acute intoxication, coma, and death when consumed in high amounts. These effects have been attributed to glycoalkaloids (GAs), primarily a-solanine and a-chaconine, naturally present in all potatoes. The level of GAs in potato tubers has previously been shown to increase substantially as a result of improper handling and postharvest storage. A short-term study was performed to investigate the dose-response profile of a-solanine and a-chaconine alone or in combination, administered daily by oral gavage to Syrian Golden hamsters. Daily doses of 100 mg of a-solanine [kg body weight (BW)]-1 induced death in two of four hamsters within 4 days, when administered by gavage to female Syrian hamsters. Doses of 100 mg of a-chaconine alone or a-solanine and a-chaconine combined in a ratio of 1:2.5, in doses of 75 or 100 mg (kg BW)-1, induced death in one of four hamsters within the same period. Animals dosed with a-solanine alone or in combination with a-chaconine suffered from fluid-filled and dilated small intestines. The GA administration had no effect on acetyl cholinesterase (AChE) or butyryl cholinesterase (BuChE) activity in plasma or brain. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-based metabolomics showed that there was a specific accumulation of a-chaconine in the liver tissues. In addition, metabolomics gave direct evidence of glycolytic metabolism of the GA with the ß1, ß2, and ?-GAs detected in the urine and, to a lesser extent, the feces. Doses from 75 mg (kg BW)-1 of a-chaconine, a-solanine, or the two compounds combined were potentially lethal within 4-5 days in the Syrian Golden hamster. However, the cause of death in these studies could not be established. No synergistic effects of a-solanine combined with a-chaconine were evident.
    Copyright © 2008 American Chemical Society
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)8753-8760
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
    Issue number18
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2008


    • Glycoalkaloid
    • α-solanine
    • α-chaconine
    • hamster
    • potato
    • acetyl cholinesterase
    • metabolomics


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