Cytoprotective and genoprotective effects of β-glucans against aflatoxin B₁-induced DNA damage in broiler chicken lymphocytes

Toxicol In Vitro. 2015 Apr;29(3):538-43. doi: 10.1016/j.tiv.2015.01.005. Epub 2015 Jan 20.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aflatoxin B1 / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Antimutagenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chickens / physiology*
  • Comet Assay
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Damage*
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • beta-Glucans / pharmacology*


  • Antimutagenic Agents
  • Protective Agents
  • beta-Glucans
  • DNA
  • Aflatoxin B1