Protective effects of beta-cyclodextrins vs. zearalenone-induced toxicity in HeLa cells and Tg(vtg1:mCherry) zebrafish embryos

Zelma Faisal, Edina Garai, Rita Csepregi, Katalin Bakos, Eszter Fliszár-Nyúl, Lajos Szente, Adrienn Balázs, Mátyás Cserháti, T. Kőszegi, B. Urbányi, Zsolt Csenki, Miklós Poór

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Zearalenone is a xenoestrogenic mycotoxin produced by Fusarium species. High exposure with zearalenone induces reproductive disorders worldwide. Cyclodextrins are ring-shaped host molecules built up from glucose units. The apolar cavity of cyclodextrins can entrap so-called guest molecules. The formation of highly stable host-guest type complexes with cyclodextrins can decrease the biological effect of the guest molecule. Therefore, cyclodextrins may be suitable to decrease the toxicity of some xenobiotics even after the exposure. In this study, the protective effect of beta-cyclodextrins against zearalenone-induced toxicity was investigated in HeLa cells and zebrafish embryos. Fluorescence spectroscopic studies demonstrated the formation of stable complexes of zearalenone with sulfobutyl-, methyl-, and succinyl-methyl-substituted beta-cyclodextrins at pH 7.4 (K = 1.4–4.7 × 104 L/mol). These chemically modified cyclodextrins considerably decreased or even abolished the zearalenone-induced loss of cell viability in HeLa cells and mortality in zebrafish embryos. Furthermore, the sublethal effects of zearalenone were also significantly alleviated by the co-treatment with beta-cyclodextrins. To test the estrogenic effect of the mycotoxin, a transgenic bioindicator zebrafish model (Tg(vtg1:mCherry)) was also applied. Our results suggest that the zearalenone-induced vitellogenin production is partly suppressed by the hepatotoxicity of zearalenone in zebrafish. This study demonstrates that the formation of stable zearalenone-cyclodextrin complexes can strongly decrease or even abolish the zearalenone-induced toxicity, both in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, cyclodextrins appear as promising new mycotoxin binders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124948
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2020



  • Beta-cyclodextrins
  • Bioindicator
  • Mycotoxin binders
  • Transgenic
  • Vitellogenin
  • Zearalenone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Faisal, Z., Garai, E., Csepregi, R., Bakos, K., Fliszár-Nyúl, E., Szente, L., Balázs, A., Cserháti, M., Kőszegi, T., Urbányi, B., Csenki, Z., & Poór, M. (2020). Protective effects of beta-cyclodextrins vs. zearalenone-induced toxicity in HeLa cells and Tg(vtg1:mCherry) zebrafish embryos. Chemosphere, 240, [124948].