Selenium Deficiency Induces Inflammation via the iNOS/NF-κB Pathway in the Brain of Pigs

  • Yilei Zhang
  • Jiawen Cui
  • Yingfei Lu
  • Chunzheng Huang
  • Honggui Liu
  • Shiwen XuEmail author


Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element to maintain homeostasis in humans and animals. The aim of the present study was to clarify the mechanism of Se deficiency-induced inflammation in the pig’s brain. Twenty-four healthy pigs were randomly divided into two groups (n = 12/group): control group (group C) was fed diet with 0.3 mg/kg inorganic Se, and Se-deficient group (group L) was fed diet with 0.007 mg/kg inorganic Se. At the 90th day of the experiment, the histology in the pig’s brain was observed by the microscope, the NO levels and iNOS activity were assayed, and the mRNA and protein expression levels of inflammatory cytokines (iNOS, COX-2, NF-κB, and PTGEs) and HSPs (HSP27, HSP40, HSP60, HSP70, and HSP90) were detected by real-time quantitative PCR and Western blot. Compared with group C, both of NO levels and iNOS activity were increased in group L, and the mRNA and protein expression levels of inflammatory cytokines (iNOS, COX-2, NF-κB, and PTGEs) and HSPs (HSP27, HSP40, HSP60, HSP70, and HSP90) were also upregulated; histological observation displayed inflammatory response in the brain of pig. In summary, diet with Se deficiency can activate the iNOS/NF-κB pathway to upregulate the expression of inflammatory cytokines, thereby leading to inflammatory lesions in the pig’s brain, and HSPs are involved in the compensatory regulation of inflammation. This study provides a reference for the prevention of pig brain inflammation from the perspective of nutrition.


Se-deficient Inflammation iNOS/NF-κB Brain Pigs 



The study was supported by the Earmarked Fund for China Agriculture Research System (no. CARS 35).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Veterinary MedicineNortheast Agricultural UniversityHarbinPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of the Provincial Education Department of Heilongjiang for Common Animal Disease Prevention and Treatment, College of Veterinary MedicineNortheast Agricultural UniversityHarbinPeople’s Republic of China

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