1st Page



This article in

  1. Vol. 86 No. 10, p. 2771-2778
    Received: Sept 26, 2007
    Accepted: May 30, 2008
    Published: February 9, 2015

    2 Corresponding author(s):


The effect of body condition on serum concentrations of two teratogenic alkaloids (anagyrine and ammodendrine) from lupines (Lupinus species) that cause crooked calf disease1

  1. S. T. Lee2,
  2. K. E. Panter,
  3. J. A. Pfister,
  4. D. R. Gardner and
  5. K. D. Welch
  1. USDA-ARS Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory, 1150 East 1400 North, Logan, UT 84341


Several species of lupine (Lupinus spp.) are toxic to livestock, causing death losses in sheep and cattle but more commonly crooked calf disease in pregnant range cows. The major toxic alkaloids in lupine are of the quinolizidine alkaloid group and include the teratogen anagyrine, which is primarily responsible for crooked calf disease. Lupines also contain teratogenic piperidine alkaloids including ammodendrine. Previous work in sheep has shown that lupine alkaloid clearance may be influenced by the animal’s physiological status. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if differences in body condition of cattle would alter the absorption and elimination of anagyrine or ammodendrine given in a single oral dose as Lupinus leucophyllus or Lupinus sulphureus, respectively. Mature non-lactating cows in low body condition (LBC, n = 4) and high body condition (HBC, n = 4) received a single dose of dry ground lupine plant (2.0 g/kg of BW) via oral gavage. Lupinus leucophyllus (anagyrine) was dosed first; then after 21 d the same animals were dosed with L. sulphureus (ammodendrine). Blood samples were taken via jugular venipuncture 0 to 60 h after dosing. Serum anagyrine and ammodendrine concentrations were evaluated. The concentration of anagyrine was greater (P = 0.001) in the HBC group and peaked 2 h after dosing versus 12 h in LBC cows. Similarly for ammodendrine, the alkaloid concentration peaked at 3 h after dosing for the HBC group compared with 6 h for the LBC group (P = 0.001). Area under the curve tended to differ (P ≤ 0.11) for both alkaloids in the HBC group compared with the LBC group. There were also differences in the maximum serum anagyrine (P = 0.02) and ammodendrine (P = 0.06) concentrations. Elimination half-life (E1/2) tended to differ (P = 0.12) between the HBC and LBC groups for ammodendrine. The kinetic profiles suggest that body condition influenced the disposition of these alkaloids. This study also suggests that body condition may impact the risk of toxicity, teratogenicity, or both of these alkaloids.

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