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Effects of Ergot Alkaloids on Liver Function of Piglets as Evaluated by the 13C-Methacetin and 13C-α-Ketoisocaproic Acid Breath Test

Institute of Animal Nutrition, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI), Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Braunschweig D-38116, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2013, 5(1), 139-161;
Received: 10 September 2012 / Revised: 12 December 2012 / Accepted: 20 December 2012 / Published: 15 January 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Properties of Well-Characterized Toxins)
PDF [310 KB, uploaded 16 January 2013]


Ergot alkaloids (the sum of individual ergot alkaloids are termed as total alkaloids, TA) are produced by the fungus Claviceps purpurea, which infests cereal grains commonly used as feedstuffs. Ergot alkaloids potentially modulate microsomal and mitochondrial hepatic enzymes. Thus, the aim of the present experiment was to assess their effects on microsomal and mitochondrial liver function using the 13C-Methacetin (MC) and 13C-α-ketoisocaproic acid (KICA) breath test, respectively. Two ergot batches were mixed into piglet diets, resulting in 11 and 22 mg (Ergot 5-low and Ergot 5-high), 9 and 14 mg TA/kg (Ergot 15-low and Ergot 15-high) and compared to an ergot-free control group. Feed intake and live weight gain decreased significantly with the TA content (p < 0.001). Feeding the Ergot 5-high diet tended to decrease the 60-min-cumulative 13CO2 percentage of the dose recovery (cPDR60) by 26% and 28% in the MC and KICA breath test, respectively, compared to the control group (p = 0.065). Therefore, both microsomal and mitochondrial liver function was slightly affected by ergot alkaloids. View Full-Text
Keywords: ergot alkaloids; breath test; pig ergot alkaloids; breath test; pig

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Dänicke, S.; Diers, S. Effects of Ergot Alkaloids on Liver Function of Piglets as Evaluated by the 13C-Methacetin and 13C-α-Ketoisocaproic Acid Breath Test. Toxins 2013, 5, 139-161.

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