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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 1991 Nov;30(1):73-87.

Mycotoxicosis: mechanisms of immunosuppression.

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Food Animal Protection Research Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture, College Station, TX 77840.


Mycotoxins are structurally diverse secondary metabolites of fungi that grow on feedstuffs consumed by animals and man. The clinical toxicologic syndromes caused by ingestion of fungal toxins have been characterized in domestic animals, poultry and laboratory animals and range from acute mortality to decreased production. Consumption of some mycotoxins, at levels that do not cause overt clinical mycotoxicosis, suppress immune functions and may decrease resistance to infectious disease. The sensitivity of the immune system to mycotoxin-induced immunosuppression arises from the vulnerability of the continually proliferating and differentiating cells that participate in immunemediated activities and regulate the complex communication network between cellular and humoral components. Mycotoxin-induced immunosuppression may be manifested as depressed T or B lymphocyte activity, suppressed immunoglobulin and antibody production, reduced complement or interferon activity, and impaired macrophage-effector cell function. Although the cellular-molecular basis for many of the specific immunosuppressive effects of mycotoxins are presently unclear, inhibition of DNA, RNA and protein synthesis via a variety of different mechanisms appears to be directly or indirectly responsible for the immunosuppressive action of many mycotoxins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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