Cell Stress and Chaperones

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 77–89 | Cite as

Protective effects of selenium against zearalenone-induced apoptosis in chicken spleen lymphocyte via an endoplasmic reticulum stress signaling pathway

  • Yinxia Xiao
  • Shiwen Xu
  • Shuchen Zhao
  • Kexiang Liu
  • Zhanjun Lu
  • Zhenzhong HouEmail author
Original Paper


Selenium (Se), an antioxidant agent, provides significant protection from reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced cell damage in vivo and in vitro. However, it is unclear whether Se can protect against zearalenone (ZEN)-induced apoptosis in chicken spleen lymphocyte. In this study, we investigated the underlying mechanism of the apoptosis induced by ZEN in chicken spleen lymphocyte and further evaluated the protective mechanism of Se on ZEN-induced apoptosis. The results show that ZEN induced an increase in ROS generation and lipid peroxidation, and a decrease in levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), and glutathione (GSH). The results of apoptosis morphologically from acridine orange/ethidium bromide (AO/EB) fluorescent staining and flow cytometry analysis show apparent apoptosis in the ZEN-treated group, and was confirmed by the upregulation of caspase-3, -12 and downregulation of Bcl-2. Meanwhile, ZEN activated the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress by upregulating ER stress-related molecular sensors (GRP78, ATF6, ATF4, IRE). However, co-treatment with Se effectively blocked ROS generation, improved antioxdative capacity, and reversed apoptosis and ER stress-related genes and protein expression. Taken together, these data suggest that oxidative stress and ER stress play a vital role in ZEN-induced apoptosis, and Se had a significant preventive effect on ZEN-induced apoptosis in chicken spleen lymphocyte via ameliorating the ER stress signaling pathway.


Zearalenone Endoplasmic reticulum stress Apoptosis Spleen lymphocyte Chicken 





Reactive oxygen species


Endoplasmic reticulum


Inositol requiring enzyme


Protein kinase RNA (PKR)-like ER kinase


Activating transcription factor 6


Glucose-regulated protein 78


Activating transcription factor 4




Superoxide dismutase


Glutathione peroxidase








Acridine orange/Ethidium bromide


Funding information

This work received financial support from the National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2017YFD0502200).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Cell Stress Society International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Veterinary Obstetrics, College of Veterinary MedicineNortheast Agricultural 8 UniversityHarbinChina
  2. 2.Department of Veterinary Internal Medicine, College of Veterinary MedicineNortheast 11 Agricultural UniversityHarbinChina
  3. 3.College of Veterinary MedicineNortheast Agricultural University, Animal HospitalHarbinChina

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