Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2021 May 1. doi: 10.1007/s11356-021-14048-5. Online ahead of print.
Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a secondary metabolite of some Aspergillus species that contaminate the agricultural commodities intended for animal and human consumption. The present in vivo study aimed to evaluate activated charcoal (AC) for its ability to reduce AFB1-induced immune suppressive effects in broiler chickens. One-day-old broiler chicks were divided into 12 groups (n = 30) and raised until 42 days of age. One control group was offered basal broiler feed. Three AFB1 groups were kept on AFB1-contaminated basal broiler feed (0.1, 0.2, and 0.6 mg/kg AFB1, respectively), whereas two AC groups were offered AC-added basal broiler feed (2.5 and 5.0 g/kg AC, respectively). Six combination groups were maintained on a combination of different doses of AFB1 and AC. The immune protective efficacy of AC was assessed by anti-sheep RBC’s antibodies, phagocytic activity of the reticuloendothelial system, phytohemagglutinin-P (PHA-P)-induced cutaneous basophil response, and histopathological and morphometric analysis of lymphoid organs. Dietary exposure to AFB1 alone resulted in dose-dependent suppression of immune responses and degenerative and necrotic changes in the bursa of Fabricius and thymus. The dietary addition of AC reduced the toxic effects of 0.1 and 0.2 mg/kg dietary AFB1 on immune responses and histological lesion on lymphoid organs; however, at higher dietary level of AFB1 (0.6 mg AFB1/kg), the dietary addition of AC was not effective to prevent the immunotoxic effects. The results of this study suggested that dietary inclusion of AC has the ability to prevent immunotoxic effects induced by AFB1 at lower dietary contaminations levels in broiler chickens.