The biotoxicity of pyridine alkaloids is well studied and the toxicity of nicotine is one of the best examples of the very active alkaloids study area. Aydos et al.478 have studied 20 rats injected daily with nicotine at doses 0.4 mg 100g-1 of body weight during 3 months and made comparisons to a control group of 20 rats. The researchers concluded that ultra-structural alternations in rats exposed to nicotine occurred.
Aydos et al.478 underlined the particularly detrimental effects of nicotine on germ cells, peritubular structures and Sertoli cells. The germ cells were degenerated, and spermatids retained excess cytoplasm and accumulated electron-dense lipid droplets in the cytoplasm. Moreover, the results of Aydos et al.478 proved that the acrosomes in rats exposed to nicotine were irregular and abnormally configured. It is not difficult to interpret these results as evidence of active nicotine toxicity. Moreover, this chronic toxicity is reported also by Sener et al.479, who have studied aqueous garlic extract as an antioxidant. In this research, male Wistar albino rats were injected with nicotine, which led to increased collagen contents in tissues. Although Sener et al.479 reported the aqueous garlic extract was a protector of rat tissues, there is evidence of nicotine-induced oxidative damage. Nicotine toxicity has been studies also on humans480-481-482-483-484-485-486-487-488-489-490-491-492. None of these studies question the symptoms of acute and chronic toxicity of nicotine. Moreover, the study by D'Alessandro et al.483 points to evidence of the risk of nicotine toxicity for tobacco harvesters. They absorbed approximately 0.8 mg of nicotine daily. Harvesters had higher levels of nicotine in their blood and urine, and urine nicotine levels were also elevated483. Nicotine toxicity is also considered a health risk for agricultural workers on tobacco plantations in India489. Nicotine toxicity is also connected to pica disease484. Many symptoms of nicotine toxicity were observed in smokers in numerous studies480-482-485-492. A dramatic case of nicotine toxicity is presented by Rogers et al.486, who mention a case of acute ingestion of this alkaloid by a child. Hypoxia and irreversible encephalopathy ensued in this rare and tragic emergency case. Berthier et al.491 reported on a case of a 30-year-old woman with symptoms of acute edematous pancreatitis. The combination of a nicotine patch and tobacco smoking induced an overdose of nicotine in this case491. Some studies also claim that a chronic administration of high doses of nicotine results in axonal degeneration in the central core490. Studies of the efficacy of nicotine replacement therapy have produced mixed findings. Moreover, nicotine toxicity is also a topic of the latest clinical and theoretical studies487-488. The mechanism of this toxicity is still not completely known in details, but the research in the field is advanced and promising. On the other hand, it is also a difficult research area because of the large industry and large amount of trade involved with tobacco plants as a part of commercial products.
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