Histological study on the effect of aflatoxin B1 on the renal tubules of adult rats

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Aflatoxins are secondary metabolites of the fungi Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. These species are prevalent in food crops, particularly in maize, groundnuts, and oilseeds. Chronic aflatoxin exposure is associated with damage to the kidney.

Aim of the work

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of aflatoxin B1 on the renal tubules of female albino rats using light and electron microscopy.

Materials and methods

Thirty adult female rats were used in this study. They were divided into two groups. The first group was considered the control group. The second group was given 0.05 μg/kg aflatoxin orally every week for 8 consecutive weeks. At the end of the experiment the animals were sacrificed and specimens of the kidneys were extracted and processed for light and electron microscopy.


In the aflatoxin-treated group there were necrosis and sloughing of the proximal convoluted tubules in some areas; other areas showed mitotic division and cell crowding. Ultramicroscopic results revealed cytoplasmic vacuolations, scanty mitochondria, and widely spaced microvilli. The distal convoluted tubules showed loss of cell polarity and basolateral infoldings. The interstitium was wide, edematous, and contained congested blood capillaries and a few mononuclear cells.


Aflatoxin had a cytotoxic effect on the renal tubules of albino rats. Regulations should be implemented to avoid the presence of aflatoxins in high concentrations in human food and minimize their negative effects on agriculture and health.

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