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Toxic encephalopathy due to colchicine—Gloriosa superba poisoning


Gloriosa superba, a flowering plant widespread in South and Southeast Asia, is implicated in many cases of self-poisoning. Colchicine is concentrated in the seeds and tubers and this mediates its toxicity. We describe a 28-year-old woman who developed delayed encephalopathy after eating G superba tubers. MR scan of brain showed bilateral symmetrical T2 basal ganglia hyperintensities in the caudate and lentiform nuclei. The delay in onset of encephalopathy is attributable to a direct-effect colchicine, probably mediated through its effect on microtubular transport.

  • colchicine
  • plant poisoning

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