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AFB1 induced free radicals cause encephalopathy in goat kids via intrinsic pathway of apoptosis: pathological and immunohistochemical confirmation of non-hepatic neuroaflatoxicosis

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Aflatoxins, particularly AFB1, are the most common feed contaminants worldwide, causing significant economic losses to the livestock sector. The current paper describes an outbreak of aflatoxicosis in a herd of 160 male young goat kids (3–4 months), of which 68 young kids succumbed over a period of 25 days after showing neurological signs of abnormal gait, progressive paralysis and head pressing. The haematobiochemical investigation showed reduced haemoglobin, leucocyte count, PCV level, increased levels of AST, ALT, glucose, BUN, creatinine and reduced level of total protein. Grossly, kids had pale mucous membranes, pale and swollen liver; right apical lobe consolidation, and petechiation of the synovial membrane of the hock joints. The microscopic changes were characterized by multifocal hemorrhages, status spongiosus/ vacuolation, vasculitis, focal to diffuse gliosis, satellitosis, and ischemic apoptotic neurons in different parts of the brain and spinal cord. These changes corresponded well with strong immunoreactivity for AFB1 in neurons, glia cells (oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, and ependymal cells) in various anatomical sites of the brain. The higher values of LPO and reduced levels of antioxidant enzymes (Catalase, SOD, GSH) with strong immunoreactivity of 8-OHdG in the brain indicating high level of oxidative stress. Further, the higher immunosignaling of caspase-3 and caspase-9 in the brain points towards the association with intrinsic pathway of apoptosis. The toxicological analysis of feed samples detected high amounts of AFB1 (0.38ppm). These findings suggest that AFB1 in younger goat kids has more of neurotoxic effect mediated through caspase dependent intrinsic pathway.

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The datasets generated in the current study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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The authors are thankful to the Director, ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, India for providing necessary facilities to carry out this work.


The authors declare that no funds, grants, or other support was received during the preparation of this manuscript.

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Monalisa Sahoo and Rajendra Singh: contributed to the study conception and design; methodology: Jigarji Chaturji Thakor, Pradeep Kumar, Santawana Palai, Pratima Behera; Formal analysis and prepared the Figures: Sushmita Patra, Jagannath Prasad Tripathy, Ramakanta Acharya, Nihar Ranjan sahoo; Investigation carried out by Monalisa Sahoo, Pawan Kumar, Pradeep Kumar, Bhavani Puvala; resources were provided by Rajendra Singh, Karampal singh, Ajay Kumar; the first draft of the manuscript was written by Monalisa sahoo, and Rajendra Singh. All authors reviewed the submitted manuscript.

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Correspondence to Monalisa Sahoo.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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This study was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (ICAR-IVRI, Izatnagar), in compliance with the ARRIVE guidelines.

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Sahoo, M., Thakor, J.C., Kumar, P. et al. AFB1 induced free radicals cause encephalopathy in goat kids via intrinsic pathway of apoptosis: pathological and immunohistochemical confirmation of non-hepatic neuroaflatoxicosis. Vet Res Commun (2023).

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