Is Aristolochic Acid Really the Cause of the Balkan Endemic Nephropathy?

Peter George Mantle, Diana Herman, Calin Tatu


In recent years, aristolochic acid has been promoted vigorously as the causal agent of the Balkan endemic nephropathy because of similarities to some other nephropathies, association with DNA adducts and a perception of human exposure via bread. Critical evaluation of the literature exposes flaws in these aspects, and there has been consistent failure of experimental toxicology to mimic either the slow silent bilateral atrophy of the Balkan disease or the transitional cell carcinomas in the upper urothelium. It seems yet premature to promote the curious Balkan disease as aristolochic acid nephropathy without the epidemiological rigour necessary in biomedical research.


aristolochic acid; Balkan endemic nephropathy; Chinese herbs nephropathy; controversy; urothelial tumours

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DOI: 10.15586/jcbmr.2016.14

Copyright (c) 2016 peter george mantle, Diana Herman, Calin Tatu

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ISSN: 2205-5975