Effects of Mycotoxins on Human Immune Functions in Vitro

Berek L, Petri IB, Mesterhazy A A, Teren J, Molnar J.

Immunosuppressive and carcinogenic Fusarium mycotoxins may appear in domestic food products. Therefore, the immunological effects of Fusarium mycotoxins were tested on human peripheral blood mononuclear cells from different blood donors. In the present study we investigated deoxynivalenol (DON), 3-acetyldeoxynivalenol, fusarenon-X, T-2 toxin, zearalenone, alpha-zearalenol, beta-zearalenol and nivalenol for their effects on T and B cells in a proliferation assay, antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and natural killer (NK) cell activity on human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The concentrations applied in our experiments were similar to those which can be found in normal human peripheral blood system (0.2-1800 ng/ml). Among the eight mycotoxins tested, T-2 toxin, fusarenon X, nivalenol and deoxynivalenol exerted the highest immunosuppressing effect on human peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro. Mycotoxin-induced immunosupression was manifested as depressed T or B lymphocyte activity. Furthermore, by virtue of inhibition of NK cell activity, the protection against tumor development may also be attenuated.