DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Fumonisin B1 (FB1) is a mycotoxin commonly found on corn that has recently been implicated in developmental toxicity. An association between maternal consumption of FB1-contaminated corn and increased neural tube defect rates has been observed in human populations relying primarily on corn as their dietary staple. FB1 disrupts sphingolipid biosynthesis by inhibiting ceramide synthase, resulting in elevations in sphingoid base-1-phophates, and diacylglycerolphosphoethanolamine lipids. All of these compounds are candidate ligands for the MHC-like molecule CD1d that functions in immune surveillance and the presentation of lipid antigens to the invariant 12 T-cell receptor on natural killer T-cells (NKT). Activated NKT cells can produce either a Th1 or a Th2 cytokine repertoire, depending on the nature of the ligand. Exposure to the FB1 mycotoxin elicits an immune response that involves the production of Th1 cytokines (IFN3 and TNF1). We hypothesize that the lipid compounds that accumulate after FB1 exposure are recognized by CD1d and presented to NKT cells as foreign antigens that elicit a Th1 cytokine response. Elevated Th1 cytokines during pregnancy often result in abortion, and in most species examined, gestational exposure to FB1 results in an increased incidence of fetal resorptions. However, in the inbred LM/Bc mouse strain, exposure of pregnant dams to FB1 results in a high incidence of fetal malformations. The LM/Bc mouse has an altered innate immune response, and deficiencies in uterine natural killer cells (uNK). CD1d is found on fetal trophoblast cells, and NKT and uNK are found in the placenta at the maternal-fetal interface. Stimulated NKT cells can transactivate uNK to produce Th1 cytokines. Using unique inbred and mutant mouse models, we will test the hypothesis that FB1 exposure in immunocompetent animals results in a CD1d-NKT uNK-mediated Th1 response that results in trophoblast cell death and pregnancy termination, while maternal immunodeficiencies in this pathway allow the pregnancy to continue to term, increasing the risk for teratogen-induced malformations. The objectives of this proposal are to determine the factors that confer increased susceptibility to fetal malformations following maternal FB1 exposure, and decipher the CD1d NKT cell sphingolipid- immune system interactions at the maternal-fetal interface that play a critical role in determining pregnancy outcome. The use of FB1 as a model teratogen will also facilitate our understanding of the mechanisms through which maternal immunodeficiencies may contribute to adverse pregnancy outcomes following exposure to other environmental toxicants. It has been shown that NKT cell deficiencies result in autoimmune disorders such as diabetes, and that the offspring of diabetic mothers are at increased risk for fetal malformations. The proposed studies are therefore expected to open new avenues for investigating the role of alterations in lipid metabolism, maternal immunity, and Th1/Th2 cytokine profiles at the maternal-fetal interface as contributing factors in diabetic embryopathies. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Fumonisin B1 is a mycotoxin produced by a fungus commonly found on corn that has recently been implicated in developmental toxicity. An association between maternal consumption of fumonisin-contaminated corn and increased risk for offspring with birth defects has been observed in human populations relying primarily on corn as their dietary staple. We hypothesize that maternal immunodeficiencies play a role in susceptibility to fetal malformations following gestational exposure to fumonisin. The objectives of this proposal are to determine the factors that contribute to increased susceptibility by deciphering the sphingolipid-immune system interactions at the maternal-fetal interface that play a critical role in determining pregnancy outcome.
|Effective start/end date||7/1/08 → 6/30/11|
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: $86,700.00
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: $95,550.00
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: $232,347.00
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