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Toxicol Lett. 1995 Dec;82-83:861-7.

Genetic implications in the metabolism and toxicity of mycotoxins.

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MRC Toxicology Unit, University of Leicester, UK.


In common with many xenobiotics, metabolic activation and detoxification play crucial roles in the determination of a toxic response of animal species, including man, to exposure to mycotoxins. Control of expression of the relevant enzymes, both constitutive and inducible, is therefore a major factor in mycotoxin-induced acute or chronic toxicities. The involvement of these factors in the toxic responses to aflatoxins and ochratoxins will be briefly reviewed. In the case of the aflatoxins, the importance of secondary, conjugating metabolism has become increasingly evident. The specific control of expression of these enzymes, through sequences present in the 5' region of the gene, is evident (e.g. by the changes seen during development and differences between the sexes). The existence of these control mechanisms has made feasible the development of chemoprotective strategies. Although less detailed information is available concerning the metabolic activation and detoxification of the ochratoxins, it appears probable that future studies will reveal a role for the genetic control of expression of enzymes responsible for the target nephrotoxicity of these mycotoxins.

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