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Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances
Year: 2014  |  Volume: 13  |  Issue: 15  |  Page No.: 937 - 944

Immunotoxic Action of Aflatoxin B1 Against Lymphoid Organs is Coupled with the High Expression of Bcl-2 by Reticulo-Epithelial Cells in Broiler Chickens

Carmen Solcan, Gheorghe Solcan, Bogdan Oprisan, Mihaela Spataru, Constantin Spataru and Viorel Floristean    

Abstract: Aflatoxins are a significant threat to chicken welfare and production due to their presence in contaminated feedstuff. This study aimed to evaluate any immunosuppressive and proto-oncogenic effects of Aflatoxin B1 in experimentally dosed chickens. The 46 days old Ross 308 broiler chickens were treated with Aflatoxin B1 (50 µg kg-1BW diluted in sunflower oil, per os) for up to 28 days. Every 7 days, five treated and five control chickens were euthanized to determine changes in lymphoid organs, particularly and the thymus and bursa of Fabricius. Tissue changes were evaluated by conventional histology and electron microscopy as well as by immunohistochemistry for Bcl-2 expression. The Aflatoxin B1 exposure induced significant reductions in body weight and in the weight of the lymphoid organs at the end of the experiment. In parallel, severe thymocyte and lymphocyte depletion, considered due to apoptosis was evidenced in the thymus and bursa of Fabricius whereas reticulo-epithelial cells proliferated and strongly expressed the Bcl-2 protein. These results demonstrate the severe immunosuppressive effects of Aflatoxin B1 on B and T cells in chickens and its proliferative action on the reticulo-epithelial cells involved in lymphocyte maturation, suggesting a proto-oncogenic action.

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