Mycotoxin Research

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 99–106 | Cite as

Exposure of pregnant sows to deoxynivalenol during 35–70 days of gestation does not affect pathomorphological and immunohistochemical properties of fetal organs

  • Wolf Wippermann
  • Anne Heckmann
  • Kathrin Jäger
  • Sven Dänicke
  • Heinz-Adolf Schoon
Original Article


In order to evaluate the influence of deoxynivalenol (DON) on histomorphological and immunohistochemical parameters in the development of porcine fetuses, five pregnant sows were fed a control diet (0.15 mg DON/kg diet) and seven sows a contaminated diet (4.42 mg DON/kg diet) between days 35 and 70 of gestation. On day 70, fetuses were delivered by caesarean section and sows and fetuses were euthanized. Tissue samples of three fetuses from each sow were collected, fixed in formalin, and processed routinely for light microscopy and immunohistochemistry. At necropsy, no macroscopic lesions were observed in any organ of the fetuses. Histomorphological, immunohistochemical, and morphometrical parameters of the immune system, liver, and intestinal tract were examined. The following antibodies were used in the liver, spleen, lymph nodes, thymus, gut, and bone marrow to compare control- and DON-treated animals: (I) CD3 and CD79a (T and B lymphocytes differentiation); (II) myeloid/histiocyte antigen 387 (MAC) (identification of macrophages); (III) Ki-67 Antigen (Ki-67) (proliferation marker); (IV) p-p-38 mitogen-activated protein kinases (p-p38 MAPK) as well as caspase-3 (cas3) and caspase-9 (cas9) (enzymes of apoptosis cascade); (V) tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) (immune-related protein). The results of the study show that exposure of pregnant sows with DON between gestation days 35 and 70 causes no pathomorphologically or immunohistochemically detectable alterations in all fetal organs examined.


Deoxynivalenol Fusarium toxins Histology Immunohistochemistry Porcine Fetus 


Compliance with ethical standards

The present study was approved by the Committee for Animal Use and Care of the Ministerial Agricultural Department of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (local country of experiment stable; reference number: LVL M-V/310-4/7221.3-1.1-006/0), Germany, according to the German Law for Animal Protection (TierSchG).

Conflicts of interest

None. The authors have full control of all primary data and allow the journal to review the data if requested.


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Copyright information

© Society for Mycotoxin Research and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolf Wippermann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anne Heckmann
    • 1
  • Kathrin Jäger
    • 1
  • Sven Dänicke
    • 3
  • Heinz-Adolf Schoon
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Pathology of the Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Clinic for Ruminants and Swine of the Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Animal NutritionFederal Research Centre for Animal Health (FLI)BraunschweigGermany

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