Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 187, Issue 2, pp 506–516 | Cite as

Selenium Deficiency Affects Immune Function by Influencing Selenoprotein and Cytokine Expression in Chicken Spleen

  • Pervez Ahmed Khoso
  • Yiming Zhang
  • Hang Yin
  • Xiaohua TengEmail author
  • Shu LiEmail author


Se is an important bioelement essential for a healthy immune system. Dietary Se influences both innate and adaptive immune responses. However, the effects of Se deficiency in chicken spleen are still unknown; thus, we designed an experiment to study the role of Se in chicken spleen. A total of 180 one-day-old sea blue white laying hens were randomly allocated into two groups (a control group and a Se-deficient group). The control group was fed a diet supplemented with sodium selenite with a final Se content of 0.15 mg/kg, and the Se-deficient group was fed a Se-deficient diet with a Se content of 0.033 mg/kg. Twenty selenoproteins and ten cytokines were investigated in detail. The expression levels of selenoproteins in spleen were determined via real-time qPCR at 15, 35, and 55 days, and cytokine levels were determined using ELISA at 15, 35, and 55 days. Protein-protein interaction predictions and principal component analysis were performed. We found that the selenoprotein mRNA levels were significantly lower (P < 0.05) in the Se-deficient group compared with the control group. The expression levels of IL-2, IL-1β, IL-6, IFN-α, and IL-17 were significantly lower (P < 0.05), and the levels of IL-8, IL-10, IFN-γ, IFN-β, and TNF-α were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in the Se-deficient group. These selenoproteins were positively correlated with component 1 and component 2 of the PCA, but the relationship between cytokines and principal components in spleens was very complex. The investigation showed that Se deficiency caused a reduction in selenoprotein gene expression and further affected certain cytokines levels. Our results provide some compensatory data about selenoproteins and cytokines in spleens of Se-deficient chickens and provide clues for further research on the relationship between selenoproteins and cytokines.


Selenoprotein Cytokine Chicken Spleen Selenium 



The authors thank the members of the veterinary internal medicine laboratory at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Heilongjiang Key Laboratory for Laboratory Animals and Comparative Medicine.


This study was supported by the International (Regional) Cooperation and Exchange Projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31320103920) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.31472161).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Veterinary Medicine*Northeast Agricultural UniversityHarbinPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Shaheed Benazir BhuttoUniversity of Veterinary and Animal SciencesSakrandPakistan
  3. 3.College of Animal Science and TechnologyNortheast Agricultural UniversityHarbinPeople’s Republic of China

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