Ochratoxin A is a chlorinated benzopyran coupled to phenylalanine, produced by several Aspergillus and Penicillium sp. associated with food spoilage. Ochratoxins are widely distributed in the environment and are known to be nephrotoxic, teratogenic and possibly carcinogenic. Ochratoxin A may act by inducing DNA strand breaks, sister chromatid exchanges, DNA adduct formation, or reactive oxygen but the mechanism of action as a toxin is not yet resolved. At the molecular level, ochratoxin A specifically inhibits NK cell activity, increases growth of transplantable tumor cells in mice, increases apoptosis, activates c-Jun N terminal kinase in human kidney epithelial cells, and blocks metaphase/anaphase transition. It also inhibits plasminogen activator inhibitor-2 production by human blood mononuclear cells.
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- Ochratoxin A inhibits the production of tissue factor and plasminogen activator inhibitor-2 by human blood mononuclear cells: Another potential mechanism of immune-suppression. Rossiello M.R et al., Tox. Appl. Pharmacol. 2008, 229, 227.
- Ochratoxin A: Apoptosis and aberrant exit from mitosis due to perturbation of microtubule dynamics? Rached E. et al., Toxicol. Sci. 2006, 92, 78.