Adverse effects of single and combined mycotoxins produced by Aspergilli – MycotoxA

Project participants:

Daniela Jakšić Despot, Ana Mornar Turk, Miranda Sertić, Biljana Nigović, Dubravko Jelić, Dubravka Rašić, Andrea Hulina, Sándor Kocsubé, Davor Želježić, Nevenka Kopjar, Maja Peraica, Davorka Breljak, Lada Rumora

HeadMaja Šegvić Klarić

University of Zagreb, Farmaceutsko-biokemijski fakultet

The EU green paper on climate change in Europe foresees an increase of 4-5°C in temperature and a water availability reduction in combination with higher rainfall and floods in southern and south-eastern Europe. Such changes in climatic conditions may reflect on the food contamination pattern through mycotoxin-producing moulds. Thus, mycotoxin-producing Aspergilli may become more frequent in our region, increasing the risk of exposure to their mycotoxin mixtures in food and the air of damp dwellings. From the mycotoxicological point of view, species from sections Flavi, Circumdati, Nigri, Versicolores and Terrei require particular attention due to the production of aflatoxin B1, ochratoxin A, fumonisins, sterigmatocystin and citrinin. The mechanism of toxicity of these mycotoxins has still not been elucidated. One of the possible mechanisms that plays a significant role in the immunotoxicity, genotoxicity and carcinogenicity of mycotoxins is oxidative stress. This mechanism could be contravened by antioxidants such as resveratrol. Therefore, the objectives of this project include: 1) research on occurrence and genotyping of airborne and foodborne Aspergilli using the ITS/CaM region of DNA sequence-based analysis; 2) checking the ability of Aspergilli to produce mycotoxins in vitro and ex vivo using high performance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry; 3) clarifying the involvement of oxidative stress in the toxicity of mycotoxins in cell lines and animal model by measuring lipid peroxidation, cell antioxidants and expression of heat shock proteins; 4) estimation of mycotoxin toxic interactions (additivity, synergism, antagonism) in binary and tertiary combinations at their EU regulatory limits using cell lines and statistical models, and 5) evaluation of resveratrol protection from oxidative stress. Our results will provide the base for recommendations and/or revision of current regulatory guidelines in order to minimize risks for human health.