Research Summary: Nivalenol and Deoxynivalenol Affect Rat Intestinal Epithelial Cells: A Concentration Related Study


The integrity of the gastrointestinal tract represents a crucial first level defence against ingested toxins. Among them, Nivalenol is a trichotecenes mycotoxin frequently found on cereals and processed grains; when it contaminates human food and animal feed it is often associated with another widespread contaminant, Deoxynivalenol. Following their ingestion, intestinal epithelial cells are exposed to concentrations of these trichothecenes high enough to cause mycotoxicosis. In this study we have investigated the effects of Nivalenol and Deoxynivalenol on intestinal cells in an in vitro model system utilizing the non-tumorigenic rat intestinal epithelial cell line IEC-6. Both Nivalenol and Deoxynivalenol (5–80 µM) significantly affected IEC-6 viability through a pro-apoptotic process which mainly involved the following steps: (i) Bax induction; (ii) Bcl-2 inhibition, and (iii) caspase-3 activation. Moreover, treatment with Nivalenol produced a significant cell cycle arrest of IEC-6 cells, primarily at the G0/G1 interphase and in the S phase, with a concomitant reduction in the fraction of cells in G2. Interestingly, when administered at lower concentrations (0.1–2.5 µM), both Nivalenol and Deoxynivalenol affected epithelial cell migration (restitution), representing the initial step in gastrointestinal wound healing in the gut. This reduced motility was associated with significant remodelling of the actin cytoskeleton, and changes in expression of connexin-43 and focal adhesion kinase. The concentration range of Nivalenol or Deoxynivalenol we have tested is comparable with the mean estimated daily intake of consumers eating contaminated food. Thus, our results further highlight the risks associated with intake of even low levels of these toxins.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 14-December-2012

Author(s): Bianco G., Fontanella B., Severino L., Quaroni A., Autore G., Marzocco S.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *