|Almost all types of food can be contaminated. In addition, its chemical stability against heat and during industrial food processing makes OTA one of the most abundant food contaminating mycotoxins.
Due in part to its long serum half-life in man, almost 100% of all human blood samples from some geographic regions may be positive for OTA.
The immunosuppressant activity of OTA is characterized by size reduction of vital immune organs, such as thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes, depression of antibody responses, alterations in the number and functions of immune cells, and modulation of cytokine production.
The immunotoxic activity of OTA probably results from degenerative changes and cell death following necrosis and apoptosis, in combination with slow replacement of affected immune cells, due to inhibition of protein synthesis.
Source: AL-ANATI, L. & PETZINGER, E. (2006): Immunotoxic activity of ochratoxin A. In: Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 29 (2), 79-90.
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