Deoxynivalenol (DON, vomitoxin), a common trichothecene mycotoxin found in cereal foods, dysregulates immune function and maintenance of energy balance. The purpose of this study was to determine if sex differences are similarly evident in DON’s anorectic responses in mice. A bioassay for feed refusal, previously developed by our lab, was used to compare acute i.p. exposures of 1 and 5 mg/kg bw DON in C57BL6 mice. Greater anorectic responses were seen in male than female mice. Male mice had higher organ and plasma concentrations of DON upon acute exposure than their female counterparts. A significant increase in IL-6 plasma levels was also observed in males while cholecystokinin response was higher in females. When effects of sex on food intake and body weight changes were compared after subchronic dietary exposure to 1, 2.5, and 10 ppm DON, males were found again to be more sensitive. Demonstration of male predilection to DON-induced changes in food intake and weight gain might an important consideration in future risk assessment of DON and other trichothecenes.
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