Toxicity of the Anti-ribosomal Lectin Ebulin f in Lungs and Intestines in Elderly Mice

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All parts of dwarf elder (Sambucus ebulus L.) studied so far contain a ribosome-inactivating protein with lectin activity (ribosome-inactivating lectin; RIL), known as ebulin. Green fruits contain ebulin f, the toxicity of which has been studied in six-week-old mice, where it was found that the intestines were primary targets for it when administered intraperitoneally (i.p.). We performed experiments to assess whether ebulin f administration to six- and 12-month-old mice would trigger higher toxicity than that displayed in six-week-old mice. In the present report, we present evidence indicating that the toxicological effects of ebulin f after its i.p. administration to elderly mice are exerted on the lungs and intestines by an increased rate of apoptosis. We hypothesize that the ebulin f apoptosis-promoting action together with the age-dependent high rate of apoptosis result in an increase in the lectin’s toxicity, leading to a higher lethality level.
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