In vitro study of ochratoxin A in the expression of genes associated with neuron survival and viability

Riddhi Sharma, Sean M. Gettings, Gareth Hazell, Nora Bourbia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)


Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a common mycotoxin and known contaminant of crops, foods and drinks. As OTA crosses the blood-brain barrier, this study investigated the role of OTA, as an environmental hazard, on neuronal survival and viability. The impact of a range of OTA concentrations on the expression of MAPT, BAX, P53, BDNF and TPPP genes was investigated using human neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y) cells. The absence of altered gene expression determined using reverse transcription quantitative PCR demonstrated that exposure to a typical daily dose of OTA delivered to the brain (2 fM), may not trigger neuronal dysfunction. However, a dose of OTA (2 pM) decreased BDNF expression. BDNF and TPPP expression were significantly reduced after 1 day and significantly increased after 2 days of exposure to 1 µM OTA. The expression of P53, MAPT, and BAX was reduced at both days. Thus, despite OTA cytotoxicity, SH-SY5Y cells entered a survival state following a strong toxic insult. A typical daily environmental OTA exposure does not appear to carry an increased risk of neurodegenerative disease. However, BDNF dysfunction may occur through prolonged exposure to a dose one thousand times higher than the typical daily consumed OTA dose potentially causing adverse effects on neuronal health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153376
Early online date15 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • BDNF
  • Mycotoxin
  • Neuron
  • Ochratoxin A
  • SH-SY5Y
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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