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Toxicology. 2003 Feb 14;184(1):69-82.

Effects of the mycotoxin ochratoxin A and some of its metabolites on the human cell line THP-1.

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  • 1Federal Institute for Health Protection of Consumers and Veterinary, Medicine, Division 4, Naumburger Strasse 96a, D-07743 Jena, Germany.


The immunomodulatory effects of ochratoxin A (OTA) and some of its metabolites on the human monocyte/macrophage line THP-1 are described. Metabolic activity, cell proliferation, cell membrane integrity, cell differentiation, phagocytic behaviour, nitrogen oxide synthesis and cell surface markers were largely suppressed by these mycotoxins at concentrations between 10 and 1000 ng/ml, in individual cases already at 1 ng/ml. After analysis of a crude toxin, a substance designated RE2 could be isolated besides OTA, which was identified as ochratoxin C (OTC). The latter showed a stronger suppressive effect on most functions studied than all other metabolites of OTA. Because of the immunomodulatory effects of OTA and OTC, more attention should be paid to their immunopathogenic importance in addition to their known cytotoxic and genotoxic effects. The occurrence and importance of the mycotoxin OTC should be more closely examined in this context.

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