Journal of toxicology and environmental health. Part A

Cytotoxic potency of mycotoxins in cultures of V79 lung fibroblast cells.

PMID 22994576


In addition to dietary mycotoxin intake, exposure by inhalation is possible and may result in local effects in the lung. As a first approach to assess the potential local impact of inhaled mycotoxins, the cytotoxicity of 14 different mycotoxins was determined in V79 cell cultures, which served as an in vitro surrogate for lung cells. Cell viability was measured by the neutral red (NR) uptake assay after 48 h of exposure to graded concentrations of structurally diverse compounds: beauvericin, citrinin, enniatin B, moniliformin, ergocornine, ergotamine, fumonisin B1, ochratoxin A, patulin, the trichothecenes deoxynivalenol, HT-2, and T-2 toxin, and zearalenone, and α-zearalenol. The 14 mycotoxins show a wide range of cytotoxic potency, encompassing 7 orders of magnitude, with IC(20) values (concentration reducing cell viability by 20%) of 4.3 mM for moniliformin, the least potent mycotoxin, and 2.1 nM for T-2 toxin, the most potent agent. Thus, when inhaled in sufficient quantities, local adverse effects in lung cells cannot be excluded, in particular for highly cytotoxic mycotoxins.