Evaluation of Aflatoxin M1 Effects on the Metabolomic and Cytokinomic Profiling of a Hepatoblastoma Cell Line

Silvia Marchese, Angela Sorice, Andrea Ariano, Salvatore Florio, Alfredo Budillon, Susan Costantini, Lorella Severino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hepatoblastoma incidence has been associated with different environmental factors even if no data are reported about a correlation between aflatoxin exposure and hepatoblastoma initiation. Considering that hepatoblastoma develops in infants and children and aflatoxin M1 (AFM1), the aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) hydroxylated metabolite, can be present in mothers' milk and in marketed milk products, in this study we decided to test the effects of AFM1 on a hepatoblastoma cell line (HepG2). Firstly, we evaluated the effects of AFM1 on the cell viability, apoptosis, cell cycle, and metabolomic and cytokinomic profile of HepG2 cells after treatment. AFM1 induced: (1) a decrease of HepG2 cell viability, reaching IC50 at 9 µM; (2) the blocking of the cell cycle in the G0/G1 phase; (3) the decrease of formiate levels and incremented level of some amino acids and metabolites in HepG2 cells after treatment; and (4) the increase of the concentration of three pro-inflammatory cytokines, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α, and the decrease of the anti-inflammatory interleukin, IL-4. Our results show that AFM1 inhibited the growth of HepG2 cells, inducing both a modulation of the lipidic, glycolytic, and amino acid metabolism and an increase of the inflammatory status of these cells.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Oct 28 2018


  • aflatoxin M1
  • cytokinome
  • hepatoblastoma
  • metabolome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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