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Arch Toxicol. 1995;69(8):552-8.

Foodstuffs and human blood contamination by the mycotoxin ochratoxin A: correlation with chronic interstitial nephropathy in Tunisia.

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Laboratoire de Biochimie, Faculté de Médicine Dentaire, Monastir, Tunisia.


Ochratoxin A (OTA) has been detected in high amounts in human blood samples collected in nephrology departments in Tunisia from nephropathy patients under dialysis, especially those categorised as having a chronic interstitial nephropathy of unknown aetiology. These represent 12-26.1% of all chronic renal failure patients. To clarify the situation, food and blood samples were collected from nephropathy patients and controls, (with no familial case of nephropathy). The OTA assay showed very different scales of OTA food and blood contamination from 0.1 to 16.6 micrograms/kg and 0.1-2.3 ng/ml, respectively, in controls and healthy individuals and 0.3-46 830 micrograms/kg for food and 0.7-1136 ng/ml for blood in nephropathy patients. The disease seems related to OTA blood levels and food contaminations, since the control group was significantly different from the nephropathy group (p < 0.005) for both food and blood ochratoxin A contamination. Combined with data published already, the results emphasize the likely endemic aspect of this OTA-related nephropathy occurring in Tunisia and possibly in other countries of northern Africa. This nephropathy is very similar to Balkan endemic nephropathy.

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