Multiple effects of bracken fern under in vivo and in vitro conditions

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(18):7505-13. doi: 10.7314/apjcp.2014.15.18.7505.


Several toxic substances have been detected in plants which are responsible for animal and human diseases. Bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) is one example, widely distributed in many parts of the world. It is known to cause cancer in humans and other animals. In fact, man can be directly or indirectly exposed to the danger by consuming fern, contaminated water, milk, meat, and spore inhalation. Experimental studies have shown an association between bracken exposure and gastric cancer, and research has shown genotoxic and cytotoxic effects in vitro. This paper describes and reviews toxic, carcinogenic, genotoxic/cytotoxic, and immunomodulatory effects of bracken and included possible toxic agents. The chemistry of Ptaquiloside (PT) reactions is emphasized, along with bracken problems in livestock, possible pathways of exposure in man, and control for human health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Diseases / etiology*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Pteridium / poisoning*
  • Pteridium / toxicity*