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Role of Hydrogen Sulfide on Autophagy in Liver Injuries Induced by Selenium Deficiency in Chickens


Selenium (Se) is an indispensable trace mineral that was associated with liver injuries in animal models. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is involved in many liver diseases, and autophagy can maintain liver homeostasis with a stress stimulation. However, little is known about the correlation between H2S and autophagy in the liver injury chicken models induced by Se deficiency. In this study, we aimed to investigate the correlation between H2S and autophagy in the liver injury chicken models. We randomly divided 120 1-day-old chickens into two equal groups. The control group was fed with complete food with a Se content of 0.15 mg/kg, and the Se-deficiency group (lab group) was fed with a Se-deficient diet with a Se content of 0.033 mg/kg. When the time comes to 15, 25, and 35 days, the chickens were sacrificed (20 each). The liver tissues were gathered and examined for pathological observations, the mRNA and protein levels of H2S synthases (CSE, CBS, and 3-MST) and the mRNA and protein levels of autophagy-related genes. The results showed that the expression of CSE, CBS, and 3-MST and H2S production were higher in the lab group than in the control group. Swellings, fractures, and vacuolizations were visible in the mitochondria cristae in the livers of the lab group and autophagosomes were found as well. In addition, the expression of autophagy-related genes (ATG5, LC3-I, LC3-II, Beclin1, and Dynein) was higher in the lab group than in the control group (p < 0.05) while TOR decreased significantly in the lab group (p < 0.05). The results showed that H2S and autophagy were involved in the liver injury chicken models, and H2S was correlated with autophagy.

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Correspondence to Chang Ying or Xing Jun.

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All procedures used in the present study were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Northeast Agricultural University.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.

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Wang Wenzhong and Zhang Tong contributed equally to this work.

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Wenzhong, W., Tong, Z., Hongjin, L. et al. Role of Hydrogen Sulfide on Autophagy in Liver Injuries Induced by Selenium Deficiency in Chickens. Biol Trace Elem Res 175, 194–203 (2017).

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  • Selenium deficiency
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Autophagy
  • Chicken
  • Liver