Piperidine alkaloids: Human and food animal teratogens

Benedict T. Green, Stephen T. Lee, Kip E. Panter, David R. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Piperidine alkaloids are acutely toxic to adult livestock species and produce musculoskeletal deformities in neonatal animals. These teratogenic effects include multiple congenital contracture (MCC) deformities and cleft palate in cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats. Poisonous plants containing teratogenic piperidine alkaloids include poison hemlock (Conium maculatum), lupine (Lupinus spp.), and tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) [including wild tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca)]. There is abundant epidemiological evidence in humans that link maternal tobacco use with a high incidence of oral clefting in newborns; this association may be partly attributable to the presence of piperidine alkaloids in tobacco products. In this review, we summarize the evidence for piperidine alkaloids that act as teratogens in livestock, piperidine alkaloid structure-activity relationships and their potential implications for human health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2049-2055
Number of pages7
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Terrie Wierenga for expert assistance with the figures and Isabelle McCollum and Amber Whittaker for assistance with the manuscript. This work was supported by USDA/ARS . Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the US Department of Agriculture.


  • Anabaseine
  • Anabasine
  • Coniine
  • N-acetylhystrine
  • Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
  • γ-Coniceine


Dive into the research topics of 'Piperidine alkaloids: Human and food animal teratogens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this