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Vet Res. 2012 Apr 24;43:35. doi: 10.1186/1297-9716-43-35.

The fungal T-2 toxin alters the activation of primary macrophages induced by TLR-agonists resulting in a decrease of the inflammatory response in the pig.

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Institut National de Recherche Agronomique, Toxalim - UMR 1331, 180, chemin de Tournefeuille, Toulouse Cedex 9, 31027, France.


T-2 toxin is known to be one of the most toxic trichothecene mycotoxins. Exposure to T-2 toxin induces many hematologic and immunotoxic disorders and is involved in immuno-modulation of the innate immune response. The objective of this work was to evaluate the effects of T-2 toxin on the activation of macrophages by different agonists of Toll-like receptors (TLR) using an in vitro model of primary porcine alveolar macrophages (PAM). Cytotoxic effects of T-2 toxin on PAM were first evaluated. An IC50 of 19.47 ± 0.9753 nM was determined for the cytotoxicity of T-2 toxin. A working concentration of 3 nM of T-2 toxin was chosen to test the effect of T-2 toxin on TLR activation; this dose was not cytotoxic and did not induce apoptosis as demonstrated by Annexin/PI staining. A pre-exposure of macrophages to 3 nM of T-2 toxin decreased the production of inflammatory mediators (IL-1 beta, TNF-alpha, nitric oxide) in response to LPS and FSL1, TLR4 and TLR2/6 agonists respectively. The decrease of the pro-inflammatory response is associated with a decrease of TLR mRNA expression. By contrast, the activation of TLR7 by ssRNA was not modulated by T-2 toxin pre-treatment. In conclusion, our results suggest that ingestion of low concentrations of T-2 toxin affects the TLR activation by decreasing pattern recognition of pathogens and thus interferes with initiation of inflammatory immune response against bacteria and viruses. Consequently, mycotoxins could increase the susceptibility of humans and animals to infectious diseases.

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