Immunotoxicological risk of mycotoxins for domestic animals

Food Addit Contam. 2005 Apr;22(4):354-60. doi: 10.1080/02652030500058320.


Mycotoxins are a group of structurally diverse fungal secondary metabolites that elicit a wide spectrum of toxicological effects. Of particular interest is the capacity of some mycotoxins to alter normal immune function when present in food at levels below observable overt toxicity. The sensitivity of the immune system to mycotoxin-induced immunosuppression arises from the vulnerability of the continually proliferating and differentiating cells that participate in immune-mediated activities and regulate the complex communication network between cellular and humoral components. Mycotoxin-induced immunosuppression may be manifested as depressed T- or B-lymphocyte activity, suppressed antibody production and impaired macrophage/neutrophil-effector functions. The immune system is primarily responsible for defence against invading organisms. Suppressed immune function by mycotoxins may eventually decrease resistance to infectious diseases, reactivate chronic infections and/or decrease vaccine and drug efficacy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic / immunology*
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology
  • Communicable Diseases / veterinary
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Food Contamination
  • Immune System / drug effects
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Mycotoxins / toxicity*


  • Mycotoxins