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Deoxynivalenol-Induced Proinflammatory Gene Expression: Mechanisms and Pathological Sequelae

Author(s): James J. Pestka

Journal: Toxins
ISSN 2072-6651

Volume: 2;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 1300;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: deoxynivalenol (DON) | translation inhibition | macrophage | monocyte | cytokine | ribosome | ER stress

The trichothecene mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) is commonly encountered in human cereal foods throughout the world as a result of infestation of grains in the field and in storage by the fungus Fusarium. Significant questions remain regarding the risks posed to humans from acute and chronic DON ingestion, and how to manage these risks without imperiling access to nutritionally important food commodities. Modulation of the innate immune system appears particularly critical to DON’s toxic effects. Specifically, DON induces activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in macrophages and monocytes, which mediate robust induction of proinflammatory gene expression—effects that can be recapitulated in intact animals. The initiating mechanisms for DON-induced ribotoxic stress response appear to involve the (1) activation of constitutive protein kinases on the damaged ribosome and (2) autophagy of the chaperone GRP78 with consequent activation of the ER stress response. Pathological sequelae resulting from chronic low dose exposure include anorexia, impaired weight gain, growth hormone dysregulation and aberrant IgA production whereas acute high dose exposure evokes gastroenteritis, emesis and a shock-like syndrome. Taken together, the capacity of DON to evoke ribotoxic stress in mononuclear phagocytes contributes significantly to its acute and chronic toxic effects in vivo. It is anticipated that these investigations will enable the identification of robust biomarkers of effect that will be applicable to epidemiological studies of the human health effects of this common mycotoxin.