PloS one

Zearalenone mycotoxin affects immune mediators, MAPK signalling molecules, nuclear receptors and genome-wide gene expression in pig spleen.

PMID 26011631


The toxicity of zearalenone (ZEA) was evaluated in swine spleen, a key organ for the innate and adaptative immune response. Weaned pigs were fed for 18 days with a control or a ZEA contaminated diet. The effect of ZEA was assessed on wide genome expression, pro- (TNF-α, IL-8, IL-6, IL-1β, IFN-γ) and anti-inflammatory (IL-10, IL-4) cytokines, other molecules involved in inflammatory processes (MMPs/TIMPs), as well as signaling molecules, (p38/JNK1/JNK2-MAPKs) and nuclear receptors (PPARγ/NFkB/AP-1/STAT3/c-JUN). Microarray analysis showed that 46% of total number of differentially expressed genes was involved in cellular signaling pathway, 13% in cytokine network and 10% in the inflammatory response. ZEA increased expression and synthesis of pro- inflammatory (TNF-α, IL-8, IL-6, IL-1β) and had no effect on IFN-γ, IL-4 and IL-10 cytokines in spleen. The inflammatory stimulation might be a consequence of JNK pathway activation rather than of p-38MAPK and NF-kB involvement whose gene and protein expression were suppressed by ZEA action. In summary, our findings indicated the role of ZEA as an immune disruptor at spleen level.