The polysaccharide β-glucan presents beneficial effects on the immune system, although the mechanisms of the immunomodulatory effect remain poorly understood. The potential cytoprotective and genoprotective effects of β-glucans were evaluated in broiler chicken lymphocytes exposed to increasing concentrations of aflatoxin B₁ (AFB₁) and/or β-glucans. AFB₁ significantly decreased cell viability at the concentrations of 10 and 20 μg/ml at 72 h of incubation (p<0.01 and p<0.001, respectively). Moreover, the AFB₁ concentrations of 1, 10 and 20 μg/ml increased DNA fragmentation levels at 24 h (p<0.001). Conversely, lymphocyte death was prevented by β-glucans at the concentrations of 1% and 10%, indicating a cytoprotective effect. Reactive oxygen species levels were increased in the cells treated with 20 μg/ml AFB₁ at 24 h (p<0.05) and 10% β-glucans with or without AFB₁ at 24, 48 and 72 h of incubation (p<0.001). DNA damage increased by more than 100% in AFB₁-treated lymphocytes when compared to control group. β-glucans at 1% was able to fully revert the AFB₁-induced lymphocyte DNA damage, indicating a genoprotective effect and maintaining DNA integrity. In conclusion, β-glucans showed in vitro dose-dependent cytoprotective and genoprotective effects in broiler chicken lymphocytes exposed to AFB₁.
Keywords: Aflatoxin B(1); Cytotoxicity; Genotoxicity; Oxidative stress; β-glucans.
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