Evidence for toxic effects of alkylphenols from Ginkgo biloba in the hen's egg test (HET)

Autor(en): Baron-Ruppert, G
Luepke, NP
Stichwörter: alkylphenols; Chemistry, Medicinal; CYTOTOXICITY; embyrotoxicity; Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761; ginkgolic acids; Integrative & Complementary Medicine; Pharmacology & Pharmacy; Plant Sciences
Erscheinungsdatum: 2001
Volumen: 8
Ausgabe: 2
Startseite: 133
Seitenende: 138
Extracts from the leaves of the Gingko tree (Ginkgo biloba L.) are therapeutically used for the treatment of peripheral and cerebral vascular disorders as well as multi-infarct or Alzheimer-type dementia. As constituents with potential contact allergenic and toxic properties in crude Ginkgo extracts a group of alkylphenols (e.g., ginkgolic acids, ginkgol, bilobol) has been described. Thus, for reasons of drug safety a maximal concentration (less than or equal to 5 ppm) of ginkgolic acids is requested by the Monograph of the Commission E of the former German Federal Health Agency (Bundesgesundheitsamt, BGA). During production of the standardized Ginkgo extract EGb 761, alkylphenols are Largely eliminated as water insoluble compounds (decanter sludge) from the primary acetone extract. To further assess the adverse properties of alkylphenols, different fractions derived from the decanter sludge were evaluated for their embryotoxic effects in the hen's egg test (HET). A fraction enriched for ginkgolic acids (16%) and biflavones (6.7%) was found to induce death of 50% of the chick embryos (LD50) at a dose of 1.8 mg/egg (congruent to 33 ppm). A similar strong lethal effect (LD50: 3.5 mg/egg; 64 ppm) was oberserved for a fraction which contained 58% ginkgolic acids but less than 0.02% biflavones. In contrast, an extreme low toxic potential (LD50: 250 mg/egg or 4540 ppm) was established for a fraction containing 16% biflavones and 1% ginkgolic acids. Thus, the present investigations confirm the high toxic potential of ginkgolic acids, although it can not be excluded that biflavones or some other constituents in the different fractions may amplify the adverse effect of these substances. Since no contribution of alkylphenols to the therapeutic efficacy of Ginkgo extracts has been confirmed and their elimination during the manufacturing process does not cause technical problems, these results further support the requirement for the completest possible removal of these compounds under toxicological considerations.
ISSN: 09447113
DOI: 10.1078/0944-7113-00022

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