Vitamins and hormones

Key roles of vitamins A, C, and E in aflatoxin B1-induced oxidative stress.

PMID 21419276


Aflatoxins (Aspergillus flavus toxins) are one of the natural toxic molecules which are produced by a group of fungi called Aspergillus. Foods and drinks contaminated with aflatoxins cause global health and environmental problems. Today in many developing countries, these toxins are leading cause of some liver cancers and serious gastrointestinal problems. Aflatoxins, which are well known to be mutagenic, carcinogenic, hepatotoxic, and immunosuppressive, exert inhibitory effects on biological processes including DNA synthesis, DNA-dependent RNA synthesis, DNA repair, and protein synthesis. Aflatoxins B(1) (AFB(1)) is the most widespread oxidative agent of the aflatoxins. Numerous diverse compounds and extracts have been reported to reduce the aflatoxins induced oxidative stress in the body. Most of these inhibitors including phenylpropanoids, terpenoids, alkaloids, and vitamins are originally derived from plants. Among these, being essential biomolecules, vitamins are used as coenzymes in very significant biological reactions. They also function as nonenzymatic antioxidative agents protecting the cells from oxidative stress-induced toxicity and transformation. This chapter reviews the mechanism of AFB(1)-induced oxidative stress and focuses on the protective effects of vitamins A, C, and E on reducing this stress.