Trichothecenes are produced by Fusarium spp. and can be present in grains such as wheat, corn, oats, and barley. They are also present in the spoors of molds that grow on cellulose-based building materials, providing a route of human exposure through inhalation. Exposure to high doses of trichothecenes, both experimentally and accidentally, causes rapid decreases in lymphoid organ size, lymphopenia, and death from a circulatory shock-like syndrome (Bondy and Pestka 2000). Chronic exposure also seems to target the immune system and can cause either immunosuppression or immunostimulation, depending on the dose and length exposure to the toxin. Trichothecene toxins are closely related and classified into groups based on chemical structure. Group A trichothecenes include T-2 toxin, which is generally considered to be the most toxic trichothecene. Group B tricothecenes include deox-ynivalenol or vomitoxin (VT), 3-acetyl deoxynivalenol, and nivalenol, and are less toxic than T-2 toxin (Bergsj0 et al. 1993).
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