Short communication: Inhibitory effects of dietary aflatoxin B1 on cytokines expression and T-cell subsets in the cecal tonsil of broiler chickens

Chunyu Liu, Min Jiang, Jing Fang, Xi Peng, Hengmin Cui


Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is the most toxic form among the mycotoxins. Cytokines are important mediators of the immune system. T-cell subsets play a crucial role in cell-mediated immunity. The aim of present study was to evaluate the effects of dietary AFB1 on the cytokines expression and T-cell subsets in the cecal tonsil of broiler chickens throughout a 21-day experimental period. One hundred and fifty six one-day-old broiler chickens were randomly divided into control group (0 mg AFB1/kg feed) and AFB1 group (0.6 mg pure AFB1/kg feed). At 7, 14 and 21 days of age, the levels of seven cytokines (IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-17, IFN-γ and TNF-α) mRNA expression as well as the proportions of T-cell subsets (CD3+, CD3+CD4+, CD3+CD8+) by qRT-PCR and flow cytometry methods were assessed in the cecal tonsils. The levels of the seven cytokines mRNA expression and the percentages of T-cell subsets significantly decreased at 14 and 21 days of age in the AFB1 group compared with the control group. However, the CD4+/CD8+ ratio was not significantly changed. These results demonstrate that 0.6 mg/kg AFB1 dietary exposure reduced the levels of cytokines mRNA expression and the percentages of T-cell subsets in the cecal tonsils of broiler chickens, suggesting that the cell-mediated immunity of cecal tonsils might be impaired in broilers.


aflatoxin B1; cell-mediated immunity; cecal tonsil; broiler chicken

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2016143-8811