Cholestyramine protection against ochratoxin A toxicity: role of ochratoxin A sorption by the resin and bile acid enterohepatic circulation

J Food Prot. 1999 Dec;62(12):1461-5. doi: 10.4315/0362-028x-62.12.1461.


We have shown that the addition of cholestyramine (CHA, a resin known to bind bile salts in the gastrointestinal tract) to ochratoxin A (OTA)-contaminated rat diets reduced plasma levels of the toxin and prevented OTA-induced nephrotoxicity. To elucidate the mechanism of action of CHA, we carried out in vitro experiments to determine whether the resin may bind the toxin. For comparative purposes, binding of bile salts to the resin was also examined. Results showed that CHA binds both OTA and bile salts (taurodeoxycholate [TDC] and taurocholate [TCA]). Also, CHA showed greater affinity for OTA and TDC than for TCA. At 1 mM concentration, 96% of OTA and 80% of TDC were bound to the resin, while for TCA binding was only 50%. However, saturation of the resin was reached at higher levels with bile acids compared to OTA (3.67 mmol/g resin for TCA and 3.71 mmol/g resin for TDC versus 2.85 mmol/g resin for OTA). To characterize the nature of the binding of the toxin to CHA, NaCl (0 to 200 mM) was added to a fixed amount of OTA or bile acids. As expected, TCA absorption was decreased by the addition of NaCl (<50 mM), indicating electrostatic binding. However, OTA and TDC sorption was decreased only at high concentrations of NaCl (>150 mM), suggesting a stronger binding to the resin than that shown with TCA. Sequential competitive studies demonstrated that CHA binds more OTA than TCA. The results of the in vivo study show the role of bile salts in OTA absorption. The toxin's plasma levels at 1 and 3 h after a single oral dose of OTA were significantly decreased in bile salt-depleted rats compared to the control. Thus, the alteration of the bile salt biliary pool and OTA enterohepatic circulation may be an additional mechanism of action of the resin against mycotoxin toxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / blood
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism*
  • Cholestyramine Resin / metabolism*
  • Enterohepatic Circulation*
  • Male
  • Ochratoxins / blood
  • Ochratoxins / metabolism*
  • Ochratoxins / toxicity*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Taurocholic Acid / blood
  • Taurocholic Acid / metabolism
  • Taurodeoxycholic Acid / blood
  • Taurodeoxycholic Acid / metabolism


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Ochratoxins
  • Cholestyramine Resin
  • ochratoxin A
  • Taurodeoxycholic Acid
  • Taurocholic Acid