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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Inhibition of mitochondrial functions by margosa oil: possible implications in the pathogenesis of Reye's syndrome.

Margosa oil (MO), a fatty acid-rich extract of the seeds of the neem tree and a reported cause of Reye's syndrome, has been used in the induction of an experimental model of Reye's syndrome in rats. It has been reported that MO causes a decrease in in vivo mitochondrial enzyme activity similar to that seen in Reye's syndrome. We have attempted to uncover some of the biochemical mechanisms of MO's toxicity by examining its effect in vitro on isolated rat liver mitochondria. Male rat liver mitochondria were isolated by centrifugation; oxygen uptake, reduced forms of cytochrome b, c + c1, a + a3, and flavoprotein, intramitochondrial concentrations of acetyl coA, acid-soluble coA, acid-insoluble coA, and ATP content were measured after incubation with and without MO. Our results reveal that MO is a mitochondrial uncoupler. State 4 respiration was increased while the respiratory control ratio was decreased. The intramitochondrial content of ATP was also decreased. There were substantial changes in the reduction of the respiratory chain components after incubation of mitochondria with MO. This decelerative effect on mitochondrial electron transport was alleviated by the addition of coenzyme Q and/or carnitine. These effects of MO on mitochondrial respiration may be due to changes in fatty acid metabolism caused by MO as MO caused a shift in the proportion of acid-soluble or acid-insoluble coA esters. Supplementary therapy with L-carnitine and coenzyme Q may be useful in the management of MO-induced Reye's syndrome.[1]


  1. Inhibition of mitochondrial functions by margosa oil: possible implications in the pathogenesis of Reye's syndrome. Koga, Y., Yoshida, I., Kimura, A., Yoshino, M., Yamashita, F., Sinniah, D. Pediatr. Res. (1987) [Pubmed]
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