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Toxins 2014, 6(3), 1080-1095; doi:10.3390/toxins6031080

Zearalenone, an Estrogenic Mycotoxin, Is an Immunotoxic Compound

1,* , 2
1 Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP–Diadema), Diadema 09913-030, S.P., Brazil 2 Department of Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of São Paulo, Pirassununga 05508-270, S.P., Brazil
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 January 2014 / Revised: 27 February 2014 / Accepted: 3 March 2014 / Published: 13 March 2014
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The aim of this study was to assess the toxic effects of zearalenone (ZEA) on the immune function. Ovariectomised rats were treated daily by gavage with 3.0 mg/kg of ZEA for 28 days. Body weight gain, food consumption, haemotological parameters, lymphoid organs, and their cellularities were evaluated. Moreover, acquired immune responses and macrophage activity were also assessed. ZEA promoted reduction in body weight gain, which is not fully explained by diminished food consumption. Despite no effect on haematological parameters, ZEA caused thymic atrophy with histological and thymocyte phenotype changes and decrease in the B cell percentage in the spleen. With respect to acquired and innate immune responses, no statistically significant differences in delayed-type hypersensitivity were noticed; however, in the ZEA-treated rats, antibody production and peroxide release by macrophages were impaired. The observed results could be related to ZEA activity on ERs; thus, ZEA is an immunotoxic compound similar to estrogen and some endocrine disruptors.
Keywords: zearalenone; immunotoxicology; endocrine disruptor; estrogen receptor; rats zearalenone; immunotoxicology; endocrine disruptor; estrogen receptor; rats
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Hueza, I.M.; Raspantini, P.C.F.; Raspantini, L.E.R.; Latorre, A.O.; Górniak, S.L. Zearalenone, an Estrogenic Mycotoxin, Is an Immunotoxic Compound. Toxins 2014, 6, 1080-1095.

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