Editor's Choice for January 2013

Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis (EMM) Editor's Choice - January 2013

The Editor's Choice for January is "Aristolochic Acid Nephropathy: Harbinger of a Global Iatrogenic Disease,” by Dr. Arthur P. Grollman.

Dr. Grollman’s review article lays out the very interesting history of how it was realized that Aristolochia poisoning was the common underlying cause of three distinct types of kidney failure, specifically, kidney failure in Yugoslavian horses, kidney failure in inhabitants of particular Balkan farming villages (a disease designated Balkan endemic nephropathy), and Chinese herb nephropathy. Chinese herb nephropathy refers to an outbreak of kidney disease and urothelial cancers linked to the inadvertent use of Aristolochia herbs in a weight-loss supplement taken by Belgian women. The article goes on to describe correlations between different types of data (analyses of DNA adducts and mutations), which prove conclusively that the aristolochic acids present in Aristolochia species are potent mutagenic carcinogens. Most importantly, Dr. Grollman’s article summarizes available evidence that ingestion of aristolochic acids is a current and ongoing public health concern in Taiwan and mainland China, where Aristolochia herbs continue to be used in traditional practices of Chinese herbal medicine.  Environ. Mol. Mutagen. DOI 10.1002/em.21756 Published 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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