Alternariol is a mycotoxin produced by Alternaria spp. relevant to the food safety area due to its abundance in certain foods. The shortage of data on its toxicology, also as a part of chemical mixtures, prevents setting regulation to limit its abundance in food. To extend knowledge on the possible mechanisms underpinning alternariol toxicology in chemical mixtures, this work assessed the effects of urolithin C, a structurally related gut ellagitannin-derived metabolite, on its absorption and phase II metabolism in a monolayer of Caco-2 cells. A computational study was also used to provide a mechanistic explanation for the results obtained. Urolithin C influenced transport and phase II metabolism of alternariol with a late reduction of transport to the basolateral compartment. Moreover, it caused an early effect in terms of accumulation of alternariol glucuronides in the basolateral compartment, followed by a late reduction of glucuronides in both compartments. Concerning alternariol sulfates, the data collected pointed to a possible competition of urolithin C for the sulfotransferases resulting in a reduced production of alternariol sulfates. Our results provide a compelling line-of-evidence pointing to the need to systematically tackle the evaluation of mycotoxin toxicity in the context of chemical mixture.
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