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Open AccessReview

Aflatoxicosis: Lessons from Toxicity and Responses to Aflatoxin B1 in Poultry

Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St Paul, MN 55108, USA
Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences, College of Agriculture, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Wayne L. Bryden
Agriculture 2015, 5(3), 742-777;
Received: 12 May 2015 / Revised: 31 August 2015 / Accepted: 1 September 2015 / Published: 8 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional Toxicology and Animal Nutrition)
This review is a comprehensive introduction to the effects of poultry exposure to the toxic and carcinogenic mycotoxin aflatoxin B1 (AFB1). The relationship between AFB1 sensitivity and metabolism, major direct and indirect effects of AFB1, recent studies of gene expression and transcriptome responses to exposure, and mitigation strategies to reduce toxicity are discussed. Exposure to AFB1 primarily occurs by consumption of contaminated corn, grain or other feed components. Low levels of residual AFB1 in poultry feeds can cause reduction in growth, feed conversion, egg production, and compromised immune functions, resulting in significant economic costs to producers. Thus, AFB1 acts as a “force multiplier” synergizing the adverse effects of microbial pathogens and other agents, and factors detrimental to poultry health. Domestic turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) are one of the most sensitive animals known to AFB1 due, in large part, to a combination of efficient hepatic bioactivation by cytochromes P450 1A5 and 3A37, and deficient hepatic glutathione-S-transferase (GST)-mediated detoxification. Because of their sensitivity, turkeys are a good model to investigate chemopreventive treatments and feed additives for their ability to reduce AFB1 toxicity. Transcriptome analysis (RNA-seq) of turkey poults (liver and spleen) has identified AFB1-induced gene expression changes in pathways of apoptosis, carcinogenesis, lipid regulation, antimicrobial activity, cytotoxicity and antigen presentation. Current research focuses on further identifying the molecular mechanisms underlying AFB1 toxicity with the goal of reducing aflatoxicosis and improving poultry health. View Full-Text
Keywords: turkey; aflatoxin B1; hepatotoxicity; immunosuppression; feed additives; transcriptome; RNA-seq turkey; aflatoxin B1; hepatotoxicity; immunosuppression; feed additives; transcriptome; RNA-seq
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Monson, M.S.; Coulombe, R.A.; Reed, K.M. Aflatoxicosis: Lessons from Toxicity and Responses to Aflatoxin B1 in Poultry. Agriculture 2015, 5, 742-777.

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