The Protective Role of Selenium Against AFB1-Induced Liver Apoptosis by Death Receptor Pathway in Broilers

  • Bangyuan Wu
  • Muhammad Jameel Mughal
  • Jing FangEmail author
  • Xi PengEmail author


Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is the most toxic among the mycotoxins and causes detrimental health effects on the liver of human and animals. Selenium (Se) plays an important role in protection of various animal species against numerous notorious toxic agents. The present study is designed to explore the protective effects of Se against AFB1-induced liver pathogenesis by the methods of histopathology, flow cytometry, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), and biochemical analysis. A total of 312, 1-day-old healthy Cobb-500 broilers were randomly divided into four groups and fed with basal diet (control group), 0.6 mg/kg AFB1 (AFB1 group), 0.4 mg/kg Se (+ Se group), and 0.6 mg/kg AFB1 + 0.4 mg/kg Se (AFB1 + Se group) for 21 days, respectively. Our results showed that 0.4 mg/kg Se supplement in broiler’s diets could alleviate the AFB1-induced histological lesions in the liver. The apoptosis analysis by flow cytometry showed that 0.4 mg/kg Se ameliorated the AFB1-induced apoptosis in the liver. Moreover, the mRNA expression levels of Fas, TNF-α, FAS-associated death domain, TNF receptor-associated death domain, TNF receptor-associated factor 2, caspase 10, caspase 8, B cell lymphoma 2, IκB kinase, X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein, caspase 9, and caspase 3 analyzed by qRT-PCR demonstrated that 0.4 mg/kg Se could relieve the impact caused by AFB1 to these parameters. The biochemical analyses of activities of CAT, GSH-Px and SOD, hydroxyl ion scavenging and contents of MDA and GSH in liver cells also indicated that 0.4 mg/kg Se has positive effect on AFB1-induced oxidative stress in the liver. In conclusion, Se could relieve AFB1-induced apoptosis by the molecular regulation of death receptors pathway in the liver of broilers. The outcomes from the present study may lead to a better understanding of the nature of selenium’s essentiality and its protective roles against AFB1.


Sodium selenite AFB1 Apoptosis Death receptors Liver Broiler 


Funding Information

This work was supported by the program for Changjiang scholars, the University Innovative Research Team (IRT 0848), and the Education Department of Sichuan Province (2012FZ0066 and 2013FZ0072).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the international guidelines, and the laws and the ethical standards of China West Normal University Animal Care and Use Committee.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that there is no competing interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Life ScienceChina West Normal UniversityNanchongPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Southwest China Wildlife Resources Conservation (China West Normal University), Ministry of EducationNanchongChina
  3. 3.Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of MacauTaipaChina
  4. 4.College of Veterinary MedicineSichuan Agricultural UniversityChengduChina

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