Aspergillus mycotoxins and their effect on the host

Med Mycol. 2005 May:43 Suppl 1:S95-9. doi: 10.1080/13693780500051547.


Aspergillus fumigatus is known to produce various immunosuppressive mycotoxins including gliotoxin. However, none of these mycotoxins has been confirmed as being directly related to the pathogenesis of aspergilli. Recent studies have made substantial progress in the determination of mycotoxins as virulence factors. Gliotoxin was found to be produced much faster than previously believed under certain culture conditions, such as at 37 degrees C and under high oxygen content, which is close to the environment in the host. Gliotoxin was also found to be detectable in the sera of aspergillosis mice and of aspergillosis patients. Based on these findings, it is becoming evident that gliotoxin is produced in the infected organs of patients of aspergillosis at a significant level. In addition to these known mycotoxins, A. fumigatus produces many mycotoxins apparently different from known toxins. From the aspect of gene analysis, the deletion of laeA was found to block the expression of metabolic gene clusters such as sterigmatocystin, and the gene is also expected to be related to the production of gliotoxin. The significance of mycotoxins as virulence factors will hopefully be clarified in the near future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aspergillosis / microbiology
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / metabolism
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / pathogenicity*
  • Gliotoxin / metabolism
  • Gliotoxin / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Mycotoxins / metabolism
  • Mycotoxins / toxicity*


  • Mycotoxins
  • Gliotoxin