Acute illness caused by the toxins hypoglycin A & B, which are present in fruit of the ackee tree.
- While in the fully ripened arils, hypoglycin A is at levels of less than 0.1 ppm, in unripe arils it can be over 1000 ppm and cause vomiting and even death
Methylenecyclopropylacetic acid (MCPA)
Inhibits the beta-oxidation of fatty acids
Fatty acids accumulation in liver
(microvesicular pattern on biopsy)
Body dependent on glucose and glycogen for energy (in absence of fatty acid metabolism)
Inhibition of beta-oxidation of fatty acids also depletes a necessary cofactor for gluconeogenesis.
Once the liver glycogen stores are depleted, the body cannot synthesize glucose, and severe hypoglycemia results
Jamaican vomiting sickness
- Hypoglycin A is found in both the seeds and the arils
- Hypoglycin B is found only in the seeds
- Abdominal discomfort (2-6 hours after eating unripe ackee fruit), followed by sudden onset vomiting
- Severe cases:
- Profound dehydration, seizures, coma, and death
- Children, esp. malnourished are more susceptible to the disease