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TheScientificWorldJOURNAL
Volume 3 (2003), Pages 1128-1137
http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/tsw.2003.98
Review Article

The Neurological Significance of Abnormal Natural Killer Cell Activity in Chronic Toxigenic Mold Exposures

Neurosciences Research, Cahers Inc., Conroe, TX, USA

Copyright © 2003 Ebere Anyanwu et al.

Abstract

Toxigenic mold activities produce metabolites that are either broad-spectrum antibiotics or mycotoxins that are cytotoxic. Indoor environmental exposure to these toxigenic molds leads to adverse health conditions with the main outcome measure of frequent neuroimmunologic and behavioral consequences. One of the immune system disorders found in patients presenting with toxigenic mold exposure is an abnormal natural killer cell activity. This paper presents an overview of the neurological significance of abnormal natural killer cell (NKC) activity in chronic toxigenic mold exposure. A comprehensive review of the literature was carried out to evaluate and assess the conditions under which the immune system could be dysfunctionally interfered with leading to abnormal NKC activity and the involvement of mycotoxins in these processes. The functions, mechanism, the factors that influence NKC activities, and the roles of mycotoxins in NKCs were cited wherever necessary. The major presentations are headache, general debilitating pains, nose bleeding, fevers with body temperatures up to 40�C (104�F), cough, memory loss, depression, mood swings, sleep disturbances, anxiety, chronic fatigue, vertigo/dizziness, and in some cases, seizures. Although sleep is commonly considered a restorative process that is important for the proper functioning of the immune system, it could be disturbed by mycotoxins. Most likely, mycotoxins exert some rigorous effects on the circadian rhythmic processes resulting in sleep deprivation to which an acute and transient increase in NKC activity is observed. Depression, psychological stress, tissue injuries, malignancies, carcinogenesis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and experimental allergic encephalomyelitis could be induced at very low physiological concentrations by mycotoxin-induced NKC activity. In the light of this review, it is concluded that chronic exposures to toxigenic mold could lead to abnormal NKC activity with a wide range of neurological consequences, some of which were headache, general debilitating pains, fever, cough, memory loss, depression, mood swings, sleep disturbances, anxiety, chronic fatigue, and seizures.