Kinetics and metabolism of zearalenone in young female pigs

J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2005 Aug;89(7-8):268-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2005.00516.x.


The fate of a single bolus of the Fusarium mycotoxin zearalenone (ZON) given intravenously to pigs was followed up. Pigs were equipped with duodenal re-entrant cannulas, post-valvular T-shape cannulas and with a urinary bladder balloon catheter. The animals were divided into three groups. Pigs of the control group were injected with ZON (Co), and pigs of the second group were also injected with ZON but their duodenal digesta was quantitatively exchanged for 12 h with corresponding pigs of the third group, not injected with ZON. Therefore, the second group had a disrupted entero-hepatic cycling of ZON (DEHC) and the third one had an induced entero-hepatic cycling of ZON (IEHC). The kinetic profile of ZON and its metabolites in plasma and their flow with urine, duodenal and ileal digesta and with faeces was examined over the next 72 h after the bolus was given. Eleven days later, pigs were slaughtered for collection of bile, urine and liver to analyse ZON residues. In all specimens examined, alpha-zearalenol (ZOL) was detected as the only metabolite of ZON. Kinetic evaluation of the plasma data revealed that the terminal elimination half-life of ZON was reduced from 2.63 h in pigs of Co-group to 1.1 h when EHC of ZON was disrupted for 12 h (DEHC-group). The maximum ZON concentration in plasma of pigs with the IEHC was found at 2.73 h after the bolus was given to their counterparts. The percentage of the alpha-ZOL- and ZON-area under the curves (AUC) estimated for the IEHC-group amounted to approximately 18% of the corresponding AUC of the Co-group which would suggest that a substantial proportion of both substances are re-cycled via entero-hepatic re-circulation. Cumulative recovery of ZON and alpha-ZOL, expressed as percentage of the ZON-bolus was characterized by a saturation kinetics in urine and duodenal digesta, and after 72 h, the respective values for Co-, DEH-, and IEHC-groups were 70%, 55% and 12%; and 35%, 22% and 11%. Faecal excretion started to increase steeply after 48 h and still continued to increase after 72 h when the cumulative excretion was 6%, 3% and 2% for Co-, DEHC- and IEHC-groups respectively. Fourteen days after the bolus injection, ZON and alpha-ZOL concentrations in bile, liver and urine were lower than the detection limits of the applied method. The results would suggest that within this period of time a massive single bolus of ZON is nearly completely eliminated from the body.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Area Under Curve
  • Bile / chemistry
  • Duodenum / chemistry
  • Duodenum / metabolism
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal / blood
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal / pharmacokinetics*
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal / urine
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Ileum / chemistry
  • Ileum / metabolism
  • Injections, Intravenous / veterinary
  • Random Allocation
  • Swine / metabolism*
  • Zearalenone / analogs & derivatives
  • Zearalenone / blood
  • Zearalenone / pharmacokinetics*
  • Zearalenone / urine
  • Zeranol / analogs & derivatives
  • Zeranol / blood
  • Zeranol / pharmacokinetics
  • Zeranol / urine


  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal
  • zearalenol
  • Zearalenone
  • Zeranol