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Int J Immunopharmacol. 1988;10(8):983-9.

Patulin immunotoxicology: effect on phagocyte activation and the cellular and humoral immune system of mice and rabbits.

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  • 1Station de Pharmacologie et Toxicologie INRA, D├ępartement d'Immunotoxicologie, Toulouse, France.


Patulin is a mycotoxin frequently found in rotten apples or molded corn. We have investigated the effect of sublethal doses of patulin on the immune system in mice and rabbits. A significant suppression of the chemiluminescence response of peritoneal leucocytes was observed in both species. Mouse spleen lymphocytes showed a decrease in absolute number, most pronounced for the B-cell population whereas the Ts population showed a relative increase after patulin treatment. The mitogenic response to PHA, Con A and, in particular, PWM was also depressed by patulin. This was paralleled by decreasing serum immunoglobulin levels in the mice and rabbits. The immunosuppressive effect of patulin is reversible and is probably due to interaction with cellular free SH groups since the action of patulin can be circumvented, at least partially, by the prior administration of cystein. Under natural circumstances, patulin may constitute a health risk for animals.

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