, Volume 124, Issue 3, pp 189-194

Immunosuppressive effects of aflatoxin in growing rats

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The immunosuppressive potential of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), the carcinogenic metabolite ofAspergillus flavus, was evaluated in growing rats. The weanling rats were subchronically exposed to 60, 300 and 600 µg AFB1/kg body weight for four weeks on alternate days by oral feeding. Various parameters of cell mediated immunity (CMI) and humoral immunity were assessed in control and treated animals. CMI was evaluated by measuring delayed type of hypersensitivity (DTH) response and humoral by plaque forming cell (PFC) assay. The lymphoproliferative response assay for T- and B-cells was also performed. It was observed that AFB1 selectively suppressed cell mediated immunity in growing rats. AFB1 suppressed CMI at the 300 and 600 µg dose levels only as measured by DTH response assay. It is concluded that continuous low level exposure of aflatoxin to growing host may enhance its susceptibility to infection and tumorigenesis.