The involvement of mycotoxins in the development of endemic nephropathy.
Endemic nephropathy is a human kidney disease that still escapes scientific explanation. It is accompanied by a high incidence of urothelial tumors in rural populations in endemic areas, which suggests that a natural nephrotoxic and carcinogenic compound may be involved in the etiology. The most imputed causative agent of endemic nephropathy is the mycotoxin ochratoxin A (OTA), because of its confirmed nephrotoxic and carcinogenic action. This paper presents a review of studies of OTA in food collected in the endemic areas and in blood and urine of their residents. Data on the co-occurrence of OTA and other nephrotoxic and carcinogenic mycotoxins such as citrinin and fumonisin B(1) in food are also presented. Unfortunately, there is no study on the co-occurrence of OTA and other mycotoxins in humans and there is only one study on fumonisin B(1) exposure in endemic areas. The paper also presents experimental data on cultured cells and laboratory animals treated with combinations of OTA and other nephrotoxic mycotoxins, because most such combinations show a synergistic effect. The occurrence of OTA- and aristolochic acid-DNA adducts is also presented.