Effects of aflatoxin b1 on liver, testis, and epididymis of reproductively mature male pigs: Histopathological evaluation

  • C.K. Mukumu
  • B.N. Macharia


Background: Aflatoxin is a major food contaminant, with adverse effects on the physiology of both humans and animals. Exposure to aflatoxins has been known to pose a great threat to both humans and animals particularly in the tropics, with varied  pathophysiological effects. This research focused on pigs since their physiology is closely related to that of humans.

Objective: To evaluate the histopathological changes related to AFB1 on the liver, testis, and epididymis of reproductively mature male pigs.

Design: An experimental study

Subjects: Mature large white pigs of the age of seven to nine months and of average body weight of 53.7 kg. They were obtained from the University of Nairobi and housed in a pig pen at Karen in Nairobi. Completely randomised design was used in the  allocation of the animals to the control group and to three treatment groups, each group comprising three pigs. AFB1 was obtained from Bora Biotechnology Company in Nairobi and the doses were given in three levels in the ratio of 1:2:3. The first treated group received 80 ppb per day, second treated group 160 ppb and the third treated group 240 ppb per day for 60 days. The control group received aflatoxin-free diet for the same study period. The pigs were sacrificed following termination of the treatment, and their tissues collected, processed for  histopathological examination and photomicrographs taken using a smartphone Galaxy note II.

Results: In the liver tissue there was marked bile duct proliferation dilatation of the central vein; mononuclear cell infiltration; fatty change, fibrosis and marked  congestion of the parenchyma. In the testis there was progressive decrease of  spermatogenesis cells, Leydig cells and Sertoli cells. Peritubular ooedema, necrosis and atrophy of seminiferous tubules were also noted. Epididymis revealed epithelial hyperplasia and epithelial cytoplasmic vacuolation

Conclusion: Ingestion of aflatoxin caused significant histopathological changes in the liver, testis, and epididymis. The changes in the liver, and testis were dose dependent while those in the epididymis were not.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0012-835X