Send to

Choose Destination
Carcinogenesis. 1992 Oct;13(10):1853-7.

Effect of dietary protein level on aflatoxin B1 actions in the liver of weanling rats.

Author information

MRC Toxicology Unit, Carshalton, Surrey, UK.


The hepatocarcinogenic responses of rats to aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) are believed to depend on microsomal activation of the toxin, followed by macromolecular binding. Dietary protein insufficiency is reported to reduce the level of microsomal metabolism, and therefore would be expected to reduce the AFB1-induced carcinogenicity. Indeed, diminished hepatocarcinogenicity in low-protein diet fed weanling rats that had received AFB1 has been reported. In the present study, carcinogenicity and other toxic effects of AFB1 (0.5 p.p.m.) fed to weanling male Fischer F344 rats on a low-protein diet (5%) or normal-protein (20%) diet for up to 8 weeks were examined. In our study, in contrast with the previous report, all animals that had survived some initial toxicity were found to have developed hepatic tumors or hyperplastic gamma-glutamyltransferase-positive foci a year later. The low-protein diet also produced sub-acute toxicity after AFB1 exposure in the weanling rats, leading to severe histological changes, and the death of about half the animals after 3-4 weeks of exposure. Animals fed an AFB1-containing normal-protein diet also exhibited AFB1-induced hepatocarcinogenicity, but not the sub-acute toxicity. The levels of hepatic enzymes involved in AFB1 metabolism were examined in animals fed the low- or normal-protein diets in the absence of AFB1. The low-protein diet, fed to 3 week weanlings for the subsequent 5 weeks, decreased hepatic cytochrome P450 levels, as well as the in vitro capacity of microsomal fractions to form AFB1-8,9-dihydrodiol, an index of AFB1-8,9-epoxide formation. Rats on a normal-protein diet did not show these changes. This discrepancy between the observed increase in sub-acute toxicity and decrease in microsomal activities in the low-protein fed animals implies that the toxic effects observed in these rats were not directly related to metabolic activation of the toxin. In contrast to the diminished microsomal in vitro AFB1 activation, however, in vivo AFB1-DNA adduct formation ability in rats receiving the low-protein diet in the absence of AFB1 was found to become elevated more rapidly during the 5 week experimental feeding period, compared with animals receiving the normal-protein diet. This was accompanied by a more rapid fall in the levels of AFB1-glutathione S-transferase isozyme activity in the low-protein fed animals. The results of this study on weanling rats support the importance of AFB1-GSH in protecting against the carcinogenic responses to AFB1, and probably also the sub-acute toxicity of the latter.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center