Lathyrism

A neurotoxic disease

Peter Spencer, H. H. Schaumburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Lathyrism, one of the oldest neurotoxic diseases known to Man, results from excessive consumption of the chickling pea, Lathyrus sativus, and certain related species. Once prevalent throughout Europe, N. Africa, Middle East and parts of the Far East, the disease is presently restricted to India, Bangladesh and Ethiopia. Lathyrism is a form of irreversible, non-progressive spastic paraparesis associated with poorly understood degenerative changes in spinal cord. Domestic animals, notably the horse, also develop hindlimb paralysis after prolonged feeding on lathyrus fodder. Experimental animal models of lathyrism have been reported but none has been satisfactorily investigated, and concurrence between these experimental diseases and the human condition is unproven. The culpable agent in lathyrus species that precipitates paralysis is also unknown. Current attention is focused on the glutamate analog, beta-(N)-oxalylamino-L-alanine acid (BOAA). While this compound is present in those lathyrus species that induce spastic paraparesis and, in large doses, reportedly causes neuropathological changes similar to glutamate neurotoxicity, there is little to compare these neuropathological changes with those found in human lathyrism. Chronic primate feeding studies utilizing BOAA need to be carried out to determine whether this agent is responsible for human lathyrism. Some species of lathyrus, notably Lathyrus odoratus, are unable to induce human lathyrism but contain a compound, beta-aminopropionitrile (BAPN), that induces pathological changes in bone ('osteolathyrism') and blood vessels ('angiolathyrism') of experimental animals without damaging the nervous system. However, related compounds, dimethylaminopropionitrile (DMAPN) and beta, beta'-iminodipropionitrile (IDPN), are chronic neurotoxins in humans and animals, respectively. There is no known relationship between lathyrism and the neurodegenerative conditions associated with these compounds, and neither DMAPN or IDPN are known to be present in lathyrus species. Use of the term 'lathyrogen' to describe the experimental toxic properties of BAPN and IDPN is therefore confusing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-629
Number of pages5
JournalNeurobehavioral Toxicology and Teratology
Volume5
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Lathyrism
Lathyrus
Animals
Aminopropionitrile
Glutamic Acid
Spastic Paraparesis
Poisons
Blood vessels
Neurotoxins
Paralysis
Neurology
Precipitates
Bone
Ethiopia
Middle East
Bangladesh
Far East
Domestic Animals
Peas
Acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Embryology
  • Toxicology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

Cite this

Lathyrism : A neurotoxic disease. / Spencer, Peter; Schaumburg, H. H.

In: Neurobehavioral Toxicology and Teratology, Vol. 5, No. 6, 1983, p. 625-629.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Spencer, P & Schaumburg, HH 1983, 'Lathyrism: A neurotoxic disease', Neurobehavioral Toxicology and Teratology, vol. 5, no. 6, pp. 625-629.
Spencer, Peter ; Schaumburg, H. H. / Lathyrism : A neurotoxic disease. In: Neurobehavioral Toxicology and Teratology. 1983 ; Vol. 5, No. 6. pp. 625-629.
@article{2f9f9b880cce4fc2a661bc40e034f4c0,
title = "Lathyrism: A neurotoxic disease",
abstract = "Lathyrism, one of the oldest neurotoxic diseases known to Man, results from excessive consumption of the chickling pea, Lathyrus sativus, and certain related species. Once prevalent throughout Europe, N. Africa, Middle East and parts of the Far East, the disease is presently restricted to India, Bangladesh and Ethiopia. Lathyrism is a form of irreversible, non-progressive spastic paraparesis associated with poorly understood degenerative changes in spinal cord. Domestic animals, notably the horse, also develop hindlimb paralysis after prolonged feeding on lathyrus fodder. Experimental animal models of lathyrism have been reported but none has been satisfactorily investigated, and concurrence between these experimental diseases and the human condition is unproven. The culpable agent in lathyrus species that precipitates paralysis is also unknown. Current attention is focused on the glutamate analog, beta-(N)-oxalylamino-L-alanine acid (BOAA). While this compound is present in those lathyrus species that induce spastic paraparesis and, in large doses, reportedly causes neuropathological changes similar to glutamate neurotoxicity, there is little to compare these neuropathological changes with those found in human lathyrism. Chronic primate feeding studies utilizing BOAA need to be carried out to determine whether this agent is responsible for human lathyrism. Some species of lathyrus, notably Lathyrus odoratus, are unable to induce human lathyrism but contain a compound, beta-aminopropionitrile (BAPN), that induces pathological changes in bone ('osteolathyrism') and blood vessels ('angiolathyrism') of experimental animals without damaging the nervous system. However, related compounds, dimethylaminopropionitrile (DMAPN) and beta, beta'-iminodipropionitrile (IDPN), are chronic neurotoxins in humans and animals, respectively. There is no known relationship between lathyrism and the neurodegenerative conditions associated with these compounds, and neither DMAPN or IDPN are known to be present in lathyrus species. Use of the term 'lathyrogen' to describe the experimental toxic properties of BAPN and IDPN is therefore confusing.",
author = "Peter Spencer and Schaumburg, {H. H.}",
year = "1983",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "5",
pages = "625--629",
journal = "Neurotoxicology and Teratology",
issn = "0892-0362",
publisher = "Elsevier Inc.",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Lathyrism

T2 - A neurotoxic disease

AU - Spencer, Peter

AU - Schaumburg, H. H.

PY - 1983

Y1 - 1983

N2 - Lathyrism, one of the oldest neurotoxic diseases known to Man, results from excessive consumption of the chickling pea, Lathyrus sativus, and certain related species. Once prevalent throughout Europe, N. Africa, Middle East and parts of the Far East, the disease is presently restricted to India, Bangladesh and Ethiopia. Lathyrism is a form of irreversible, non-progressive spastic paraparesis associated with poorly understood degenerative changes in spinal cord. Domestic animals, notably the horse, also develop hindlimb paralysis after prolonged feeding on lathyrus fodder. Experimental animal models of lathyrism have been reported but none has been satisfactorily investigated, and concurrence between these experimental diseases and the human condition is unproven. The culpable agent in lathyrus species that precipitates paralysis is also unknown. Current attention is focused on the glutamate analog, beta-(N)-oxalylamino-L-alanine acid (BOAA). While this compound is present in those lathyrus species that induce spastic paraparesis and, in large doses, reportedly causes neuropathological changes similar to glutamate neurotoxicity, there is little to compare these neuropathological changes with those found in human lathyrism. Chronic primate feeding studies utilizing BOAA need to be carried out to determine whether this agent is responsible for human lathyrism. Some species of lathyrus, notably Lathyrus odoratus, are unable to induce human lathyrism but contain a compound, beta-aminopropionitrile (BAPN), that induces pathological changes in bone ('osteolathyrism') and blood vessels ('angiolathyrism') of experimental animals without damaging the nervous system. However, related compounds, dimethylaminopropionitrile (DMAPN) and beta, beta'-iminodipropionitrile (IDPN), are chronic neurotoxins in humans and animals, respectively. There is no known relationship between lathyrism and the neurodegenerative conditions associated with these compounds, and neither DMAPN or IDPN are known to be present in lathyrus species. Use of the term 'lathyrogen' to describe the experimental toxic properties of BAPN and IDPN is therefore confusing.

AB - Lathyrism, one of the oldest neurotoxic diseases known to Man, results from excessive consumption of the chickling pea, Lathyrus sativus, and certain related species. Once prevalent throughout Europe, N. Africa, Middle East and parts of the Far East, the disease is presently restricted to India, Bangladesh and Ethiopia. Lathyrism is a form of irreversible, non-progressive spastic paraparesis associated with poorly understood degenerative changes in spinal cord. Domestic animals, notably the horse, also develop hindlimb paralysis after prolonged feeding on lathyrus fodder. Experimental animal models of lathyrism have been reported but none has been satisfactorily investigated, and concurrence between these experimental diseases and the human condition is unproven. The culpable agent in lathyrus species that precipitates paralysis is also unknown. Current attention is focused on the glutamate analog, beta-(N)-oxalylamino-L-alanine acid (BOAA). While this compound is present in those lathyrus species that induce spastic paraparesis and, in large doses, reportedly causes neuropathological changes similar to glutamate neurotoxicity, there is little to compare these neuropathological changes with those found in human lathyrism. Chronic primate feeding studies utilizing BOAA need to be carried out to determine whether this agent is responsible for human lathyrism. Some species of lathyrus, notably Lathyrus odoratus, are unable to induce human lathyrism but contain a compound, beta-aminopropionitrile (BAPN), that induces pathological changes in bone ('osteolathyrism') and blood vessels ('angiolathyrism') of experimental animals without damaging the nervous system. However, related compounds, dimethylaminopropionitrile (DMAPN) and beta, beta'-iminodipropionitrile (IDPN), are chronic neurotoxins in humans and animals, respectively. There is no known relationship between lathyrism and the neurodegenerative conditions associated with these compounds, and neither DMAPN or IDPN are known to be present in lathyrus species. Use of the term 'lathyrogen' to describe the experimental toxic properties of BAPN and IDPN is therefore confusing.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0021018925&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0021018925&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

VL - 5

SP - 625

EP - 629

JO - Neurotoxicology and Teratology

JF - Neurotoxicology and Teratology

SN - 0892-0362

IS - 6

ER -