Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is a plant that contains neurotoxins such as linamarin and lotaustraline. Its long-term consumption is associated with neuronal damage and contributes to the development of motor impairment in humans and rats. We investigated the effects of the consumption of cassava juice on renal and hepatic function and motor impairments in male rats. The rats received the vehicle, non-toxic and toxic doses of cassava juice, or linamarin as a pharmacological control, over 35 consecutive days. The effects were evaluated in an open field test, rotarod, and swim test. The toxic cassava dose and linamarin resulted in motor impairments in the rotarod and swim test from day 7 of treatment. The toxic cassava dose and linamarin increased the parameters that indicate renal and hepatic damage, with the exception of total protein and albumin levels. Behavioral variables that show motor incoordination (i.e., latency to fall in the rotarod) were negatively correlated with biochemical parameters of renal and kidney damage, whereas spin behavior was positively correlated. Our data indicate that chronic oral consumption of cassava juice caused renal and hepatic damage that was correlated with motor coordination impairment in rats, similarly to their principal neurotoxic compound, linamarin.
Keywords: cassava juice; hepatic function; hepatoxicity; motor incoordination; neurotoxic; renal function.