From the point of view of human exposure, fumonisins (FB1, FB2, FB3, FB4), a relatively recently (1988) discovered and identified group of mycotoxins, represent one of the five most important mycotoxin groups causing human disease. In an earlier experiment studying the effects of relatively low doses (10, 20 and 40 p.p.m.) of FB1 in weaned piglets, it was established that the 4-week feeding of 10 p.p.m. (mg/kg feed) FB1 produced mild pulmonary oedema. This suggested the importance of studies with even lower doses of the toxin to determine the tolerable limits. The objective of this experiment was therefore to study the effects of prolonged (8-week) exposure to still lower concentrations (0, 1, 5 and 10 mg/kg feed) of FB1. The 8-week feeding of FB1 in low concentrations (1-10 p.p.m.) did not cause clinical signs and significant performance impairment in pigs, but rendered irreversible the chronic changes that had already developed in the animals in a dose-dependent manner. Dissection revealed pathological alterations of the lungs in one of the animals given 1 p.p.m. (n = 4), in two animals exposed to 5 p.p.m. (n = 5), and in three animals given 10 p.p.m. (n = 4). In all three treatment groups, proliferation of the connective tissue fibres, primarily of those around the lymphatic vessels, in the subpleural and interlobular connective tissue of the lungs, extending to the peribronchial and peribronchiolar areas, was seen. The results of this experiment call attention to the risk of prolonged low-dose toxin exposure, which has very important public health implications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas