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#15902 - 12/28/03 10:58 PM Aflatoxin mechanism of action

Warning - long post, and some may find this boring. But one of my favorite glider people recently sent me an email asking: "Can something that a cricket eats bind to its actual DNA? That seems preposterous to me. However, I know so little but it seems to me that if that were easily possible, wed have mutations out the wazzoo?" Here is my shot at an answer.

We do have histone proteins which attach to DNA and regulate which parts are translated and which are not. If you think about it, one fertilized egg has one set of DNA. It divides, now two "identical" copies of DNA in two cells, and so on. At some point, some of those cells (all of which are descendants of the first original egg) become gut cells, some become skin, some bone, and so on. They all started with the same DNA. One complete set was in the original egg. So why do they differentiate into different cell lines? Why don't we have just one big glob of replicated egg cells instead of specific tissue types? We know the histone proteins in one cell line attach to DNA and block some sections of DNA translation, yet allow others. But where do the histone come from. We still have the same problem. One original cell. Why after many divisions do various cells have different histone function, making cell differentiation happen? There is a Nobel prize in that for somebody. Right now only God knows. Could food, virus's, TOXINS, or various things modulate histone function, or translation of DNA to RNA, or transcription of RNA to proteins, or proteins to incorporation in mitochondria or other vital cell functions? You betcha! Toxins can attach at many different sites to do damage.

There is good evidence that we do indeed have "mutations out the wahzoo" on a daily basis. It seems our immune system knows the difference between our own normal cells from mutated imposters, and constantly does away with the mutants. When one mutant line escapes immune surveillance and then repeatedly divides, we have cancer. We know ionizing radiation, oxidizing radicals and other insults can cause DNA damage. Vitamins C and E are anti-oxidants to help avoid as much damage.

So, what about cricket food? We know about toxic effects of certain things, like arsenic, cyanide, strychnine, etc. each with its own mechanism of action. Bacterial toxins exert their effects on different tissues and different cell lines. In fact, some antibiotics work against ribosomes, blocking protein synthesis, others are directed against the bacterial cell wall, some antivirals are directed at DNA or RNA. So, in a general sense, cricket food that affects DNA does not seem at all implausible. What would help answer the question would be what food or contaminant, and in what dose.

Aflatoxin B is known to kill both by acute toxic exposure and chronic exposure leading to carcinogenesis. The acute form leads to hepatic cell death due to lipid infiltration of cells, interfering with carbohydrate metabolism and protein synthesis. Liver markers show heavy involvement. The chronic exposure can lead to impaired immune system function and cancer. With respect to DNA damage, some of the metabolic breakdown products of aflatoxin attach to nucleic acids, and cause base pair substitutions in DNA during replication. This is a gene mutation. That is probably why aflatoxin gets so much respect, it's highly toxic, can work in different ways in different animals, works as a low level chronic killer as well as a high level acute poisoning death. Nasty beast. Hope this helps.

#15903 - 12/29/03 08:21 AM Re: Aflatoxin mechanism of action [Re: ]

Thank you for taking the time to post this very interesting information!

#15904 - 12/29/03 09:49 AM Re: Aflatoxin mechanism of action [Re: ]
Karin Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/06/01
Posts: 11583
Loc: Sycamore Illinois
Thank you very much for taking the time to research and post your information Schlep! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/yelclap.gif" alt="" />

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#15905 - 12/30/03 01:22 AM Re: Aflatoxin mechanism of action [Re: ]
Bourbon Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 04/01/99
Posts: 5333
Loc: Bee-Bopping round SnakePit USA
here is the story from beginning to rnd regarding the aflatozin that hit Ellen and Bruces gliders

Maybe we can get Bruce to add his complete or rough version of what I am going to say.

i am pretty foggy on all this but I believe he said something about the fungus either was or is used to help ferment beer, thus ciroriss of the liver. now as for the dna binding, we also know that lets take heroin when introdced to the system can in turn be transfered to the unborn fetus, aids the same way. when crickets live in and eat the corn, it too binds with the dna, and when out gliders ingest it, the liver tries to filter it out, where it spores and grows at rapid rates. the reason the mealworms are not usually affected is because they are generally raised and bred in bran not corn.

some other things to consider, the corn mash is generally corn that is NOT fit for human consumption, there are regulations as to min levels of the aflatoxin in human foods, 0 tolerance, but there is NO regulation for our pets, there are minimanl regs for aminals that we eat, chickens, beef, pork etc.. but nothing for our pets. there fore the corn that is rejected die to aflatoxin is sold to pet feed companys and for bedding etc.. chickens I believe is not affect by aflatoxin from what I understand. like I said Bruce could explain in more detail.
Baybe,My Roots




Sugar Glider Genetic Project


#15906 - 12/30/03 04:50 AM Re: Aflatoxin mechanism of action [Re: ]
Charlie H Offline
Glider Slave

Registered: 11/13/03
Posts: 1659
Loc: Wallis Texas
Keep in mind aflatoxins are also found in other food stuff. The gliders we lost got aflatoxin poisoning from eating human grade raw peanuts. We had neocropsies done to verify this. The peanuts were purchased in the produce department of a major food store. May never happen again, but once was enough to make us stop giving peanuts as treats. It is terrible to watch your babies dying and know there is nothing you can do about it. What is really sick, is that while we are waiting to find what caused the death of the first one we are continueing to give the others the same thing that caused its death. Of course we had no idea that the peanuts were the culprit. You can imagine our shock when the vet told us the results of the neocropsy. Then you have to go through the wondering of how many more it will affect.
Charlie H
Rescue & Rehabilation


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