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  • 1 University of Agricultural Science and Veterinary Medicine ‘Ion Ionescu de la Brad’ Iasi Faculty of Veterinary Medicine 8 M. Sadoveanu Alley 700489 Iasi Romania
  • 2 ‘Grigore T. Popa’ University of Medicine and Pharmacy Iasi Faculty of Pharmacy Iasi Romania

The immunotoxic effect of ochratoxin A (OTA) on the intestinal mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue and its cytotoxic action on the intestinal epithelium were studied in broiler chickens experimentally treated with the toxin. From the 7th day of life, 80 male broiler chickens (Ross 308) were randomly divided into four groups of 20 birds each. The three experimental groups (E1-3) were treated with OTA for 28 days (E1: 50 μg/kg body weight [bw]/day; E2: 20 μg/kg bw/day; E3: 1 μg/kg bw/day) and the fourth group served as control. Histological examination of the intestinal mucosa and immunohistochemical staining for identification of CD4+, CD8+, TCR1 and TCR2 lymphocytes in the duodenum, jejunum and ileocaecal junction were performed, and CD4+/CD8+ and TCR1/TCR2 ratios were calculated. OTA toxicity resulted in decreased body weight gain, poorer feed conversion ratio, lower leukocyte and lymphocyte count, and altered intestinal mucosa architecture. After 14 days of exposure to OTA, immunohistochemistry showed a significant reduction of the lymphocyte population in the intestinal epithelium and the lamina propria. After 28 days of exposure, an increase in the CD4+ and CD8+ values in both the duodenum and jejunum of chickens in Groups E1 and E2 was observed, but the TCR1 and TCR2 lymphocyte counts showed a significant reduction. No significant changes were observed in Group E3. The results indicate that OTA induced a decrease in leukocyte and lymphocyte counts and was cytotoxic to the intestinal epithelium and the mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue, altering the intestinal barrier and increasing susceptibility to various associated diseases.

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