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The digestive tract is a target for the Fusarium toxin deoxynivalenol (DON), a major cereal grain contaminant of animal and public health concern. Toxic effects of DON range from diarrhoea, vomiting and gastrointestinal inflammation to necrosis of several tissues. Following ingestion of contaminated food or feed, intestinal epithelial cells are exposed to a high concentration of ingested DON, potentially affecting intestinal functions. Pigs are considered to be the species most sensitive to DON toxicity. However, only few studies directly evaluated DON effects on porcine intestinal epithelial cells. Therefore, we used the porcine intestinal cell line (IPEC-J2) to assess short-term effects of DON on functional characteristics of the intestinal epithelial cells. The cytotoxic effect of DON on IPEC-J2 cells was evaluated by measuring the count of living cells and the activity of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) released in the culture media at a DON concentration range from 0, 0.5, 2.5 and 10 μm. We demonstrated that DON at concentrations of 2.5 and 10 μm decreased significantly (p < 0.001) the cell count in a dose-dependent manner. At a concentration of 10 μm, DON caused cell damage, including rounding of cells, autolysis and cell loss from the monolayer. The mycotoxin, DON, increased LDH release into the culture medium compared with the control value. The alterations of LDH showed a good agreement with the decrease in cell count. Deoxynivalenol decreased the l-lactate concentration in the fluid supernatant of IPEC-J2 cells at 2.5 μm (p < 0.05) with a maximal effect at 10 μm of DON. To determine whether the altered lactate production may be linked to alterations of energy balance, we measured cellular ATP levels in IPEC-J2 cells. A significant decrease in ATP levels was seen at 48 h in a dose-dependent manner. It could be demonstrated that DON has a distinct cytotoxic effect on IPEC-J2 cells.