Eupatorium adenophorum (Crofton weed), a native of Central America. has appeared as a major weed in several areas in different parts of the world. Horses that eat this plant are poisoned on prolonged exposure. Toxicity due to consumption of this plant by other grazing animals is not clear. Administration of freeze-dried leaf powder to mice results in hepatotoxicity. Earlier attempts to produce toxicity in rats using the leaves of this plant were not successful. In the present study, administration of oven-dried E. adenophorum leaves collected at the flowering stage elicited hepatotoxicity in rats. The affected animals had a marked increase in the concentration of plasma bilirubin and in the activities of 5'-nucleotidase, alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and lactate dehydrogenase. There were no significant differences in plasma creatinine, urea or total protein values in the affected animals compared to controls. The livers of the affected animals had focal areas of necrosis throughout the parenchyma and hepatocytes showed megalocytosis. The bile ducts were dilated and the epithelium showed degenerative to necrotic changes. The alterations in bilirubin, enzymes and histopathological changes imply cholestasis and liver injury.
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