Mitochondria are the powerhouse of cells, which upon dysfunctions may lead to several diseases. Mycotoxins are the toxic secondary metabolites from fungi which are capable of causing diseases and death in humans and animals. They have a versatile mechanism of action in biological systems and can be used as lead compounds to treat some diseases including cancer. The present work encompasses analysis on the effects of mycotoxins on mitochondrial dysfunction. Electronic databases such as PubMed, ScienceDirect, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar were thoroughly searched for up-to-date published information associated with those mycotoxins and their effect on mitochondrial dysfunction. Findings suggest that mycotoxins such as citrinin, aflatoxin, and T-2 toxin exert multi-edged sword-like effects in test systems causing mitochondrial dysfunction. Mycotoxins can induce oxidative stress even at low concentration/dose that may be one of the major causes of mitochondrial dysfunction. On the other hand, activation of apoptotic caspases and other proteins by mycotoxins may lead to apoptotic cell death. Thus, mycotoxins-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction may be related to several chronic diseases which also makes these mycotoxins considerable as lead compounds for inducing toxic effects in cells. Their cytotoxic effects on cancer cells suggest their possible application as chemotherapeutic tools. © 2018 IUBMB Life, 70(11):1084-1092, 2018.
Keywords: biotoxins; cancer cells; chronic diseases; fungal derived; mitochondria.
© 2018 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.