Inhibition of NF-κB signaling pathway by astaxanthin supplementation for prevention of heat stress–induced inflammatory changes and apoptosis in Karan Fries heifers

  • Sunil KumarEmail author
  • S. V. Singh
Regular Articles


Present study was conducted on 12 Karan Fries (Holstein Friesian X Tharparkar) heifers (10–12 months) to assess the effect of astaxanthin supplementation on heat stress amelioration and inhibition of NF-κB signaling pathway for prevention of heat stress–induced inflammatory changes and apoptosis in the cell during the summer season. The heifers were randomly and equally divided into two groups, i.e., control (fed as per ICAR 2013) and treatment groups (additionally supplemented astaxanthin at a dose rate of 0.25 mg/kg BW/day/animal). Temperature humidity index used to assess the levels of summer stress during the experimental period. Blood samples were collected at the fortnightly interval for quantification of plasma cortisol and IL-12 from both the groups of the heifers and from collected blood samples, RNA was isolated and transcribed into cDNA for real time PCR, for genes expression of NF-κB, IL-2, caspase-3, and Bcl-2. Plasma cortisol, IL-12 levels, and expression pattern of NF-κB, IL-2, and caspase-3 were significantly (P ≤ 0.05) lower in treatment group of Karan Fries heifers than control group, whereas, Bcl-2 was higher (P ≤ 0.05) in astaxanthin supplemented group. The temperature humidity index had a positive correlation (P ≤ 0.05) with plasma cortisol and IL-12 and expression pattern of NF-κB, IL-2, and caspase-3. However, it was negatively correlated with Bcl-2. The supplementation of astaxanthin can ameliorate the impact of summer stress through NF-κB downregulation, might be due to the quenching of free radicals, which regulates the expression of pro-inflammatory mediators and apoptotic genes.


Apoptosis Astaxanthin Inflammation Summer Transcription 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the Director, ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, for providing necessary facilities to conduct this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have not any conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Animal Physiology Division, ICARNational Dairy Research Institute (NDRI)KarnalIndia

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