Aflatoxins, and particularly aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), are toxic mycotoxins to humans and farm animal species, resulting in acute and chronic toxicities. At present, AFB1 is still considered a global concern with negative impacts on health, the economy, and social life. In farm animals, exposure to AFB1-contaminated feed may cause several untoward effects, liver damage being one of the most devastating ones. In the present study, we assessed in vitro the transcriptional changes caused by AFB1 in a bovine fetal hepatocyte-derived cell line (BFH12). To boost the cellular response to AFB1, cells were pre-treated with the co-planar PCB 3,3′,4,4′,5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB126), a known aryl hydrocarbon receptor agonist. Three experimental groups were considered: cells exposed to the vehicle only, to PCB126, and to PCB126 and AFB1. A total of nine RNA-seq libraries (three replicates/group) were constructed and sequenced. The differential expression analysis showed that PCB126 induced only small transcriptional changes. On the contrary, AFB1 deeply affected the cell transcriptome, the majority of significant genes being associated with cancer, cellular damage and apoptosis, inflammation, bioactivation, and detoxification pathways. Investigating mRNA perturbations induced by AFB1 in cattle BFH12 cells will help us to better understand AFB1 toxicodynamics in this susceptible and economically important food-producing species.
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