In the present study, the effects of ochratoxin A (OTA), citrinin (CIT) and their combination on the immunological parameters were studied in 6-8 weeks old New Zealand White rabbits at 60 d post-intoxication. Thirty two rabbits were divided into four groups of eight. OTA, CIT and a combination of the two were given at 0.75 mg/kg, 15 mg/kg and 0.75 plus 15 mg/kg, in feed respectively for up to 60 d of the trial. Other fourth group was used as a control, being fed standard toxin free feed. The toxin treated animals showed a signifi cant decline in antibody titres to sheep red blood cells. The reduction in the cell mediated immune response was more signifi cant in the OTA and combination groups as observed in the skin hypersensitivity test and the lymphocyte proliferation assay. The citrinin-treated rabbits failed to show any signifi cant changes following the lymphocyte transformation assay and the delayed type hypersensitivity test. Histologically, the cellular (mononuclear cells) reaction in the skin in the treated groups was comparatively lesser than that of the control group. Thus, the present study in rabbits indicated signifi cantly lower humoral and cellular immune responses in the OTA and combination groups.
Citrinin; ochratoxin A; immunotoxicity; lymphocyte proliferation assay