Article ID: 0170054
Microcystins (MCs) are included in drinking water and a family of cyclic heptapeptide hepatotoxins that have been implicated in the impairment of liver function in various animals. There is scarce information on the effect of MCs on cytokines and apoptotic gene expression and on whether MCs can induce inflammation and apoptosis in avian hepatic tissue. This study investigated the expression of genes related to proinflammatory interleukins, apoptosis, and antioxidant function in chicken liver tissues cultured in the presence of different doses of microcystin-leucine-arginine (MC-LR). Livers were collected from five hens and liver slices were placed in sterile tubes containing Dulbecco’s medium supplemented with 0, 1, 10, or 100 ng/mL of MC-LR. After 6 h of cultivation, total RNA was extracted and quantitative PCR analysis was performed for interleukin genes (IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8), TNF sf15, an apoptotic gene (caspase-3), and genes involved in antioxidant function ([catalase [CAT], glutathione peroxidase [GSH-PX], and superoxide dismutase [SOD]). Liver tissues in each group were fixed for histopathology. MC-LR downregulated the mRNA levels of IL-1β, IL-8, and TNF sf15 as compared to the control (0 ng/mL) in dose-dependent patterns; however, the differences were not significant. The expression of IL-6 in liver tissues exposed to 100 ng/mL of MC-LR was significantly (P < 0.05) lower than that in tissues exposed to 1 ng/mL. In contrast, MC-LR upregulated the mRNA expression of caspase-3 and genes involved in antioxidant function in the liver tissues after 6 h, without the difference reaching statistical significance. Hepatocytes showed vacuolar degeneration and focal necrosis according to the dose of MC-LR. This study highlighted the risk of low doses of MC-LR in chicken liver. Moreover, MC-LR could modulate the transcriptional patterns of at least IL-6 in liver-tissue culture of chicken after 6 h of exposure.