Zearalenone (ZEN) is a frequently-occurring mycotoxin in both animal and fish feeds. In order to characterize its effects on carp, three groups of fish were fed for 28 days with feeds contaminated with three different levels of ZEN (low: 332 µg kg−1
, medium: 621 µg kg−1
, and high: 797 µg kg−1
feed). The reversibility of the effects of ZEN was assessed by feeding all of the groups with uncontaminated feed for a further 14 days. Gene expression of immune genes in the liver tissue of the fish was analysed, revealing reduced expressions of immune, antioxidative, and estrogen-related genes after the fish had been exposed to ZEN. However, the expression of vacuole-type H+
ATPase increased substantially with ZEN exposure, thus supporting the previously-reported sensitivity of lysosomal functions to ZEN. Feeding the fish with a ZEN-free diet for a further two weeks changed the effects of ZEN on the expression of some genes, including the expressions of the cytokines IL-1β, IL-8, IL-10, and arginase 2, which were not influenced after four weeks of treatment, but showed lower values after the recovery phase in fish previously treated with ZEN compared with the control group. In summary, this study confirmed the broad effects of ZEN on different essential functions in carp and suggests that the current maximum allowable levels in compound feed are too high to prevent damage to fish.
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