Mycotoxins: cytotoxicity and biotransformation in animal cells
Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by many microfungi. Hitherto, over 300 mycotoxins with diverse structures have been identified. They contaminate most cereals and feedstuffs, which threaten human and animal health by exerting acute, sub-acute and chronic toxicological effects, with some considered as carcinogens. Many mycotoxins at low concentrations are able to induce the expression of cytochrome P450 and other enzymes implicated in the biotransformation and metabolization of mycotoxins in vivo and in vitro. Mycotoxins and their metabolites elicit different cellular disorders and adverse effects such as oxidative stress, inhibition of translation, DNA damage and apoptosis in host cells, thus causing various kinds of cytotoxicities. In this review, we summarize the biotransformation of mycotoxins in animal cells by CYP450 isoforms and other enzymes, their altered expression under mycotoxin exposure, and recent progress in mycotoxin cytotoxicity in different cell lines. Furthermore, we try to generalize the molecular mechanisms of mycotoxin effects in human and animal cells.