The influence of Boron (B) supplementation on immune and antioxidant status of rats with or without abiotic stress induced by dietary calcium (Ca) restriction was studied in a feeding trial of 90 days. Wistar strain rats (3-4 wk age, n=84) were divided into 7 dietary groups (4 replicates of 3 each) viz., normal-calcium (100%) basal diet alone (NC, control) or supplemented with B at 5 (NCB-5), 10 (NCB-10), 20 (NCB-20) and 40ppm (NCB-40) levels; low-calcium (50%) basal diet alone (LC) or supplemented with 40ppm B (LCB-40). After 75 days of experimental feeding, rats were challenged with intraperitoneal injection of sheep RBCs to assess their humoral immunity. At the end of the trial, cell-mediated immunity was assessed as foot pad reaction to sheep RBCs injected into the hind leg paws. Eight rats from each group were sacrificed to collect blood for estimation of minerals and total antioxidant activity, and liver for superoxide dismutase gene expression analysis. Supplementation of graded levels of B (5, 10, 20 and 40ppm) as borax in NC diets significantly increased (P<0.01) the footpad thickness and serum total antioxidant activity, hepatic expression levels of both Cu-Zn SOD (SOD1) and Mn-SOD (SOD2) mRNAs. The erythrocytic SOD activity and humoral response did not differ significantly among the dietary groups. In Ca restricted groups, humoral immune response was significantly decreased (P<0.01) compared to control but increased (P<0.05) with 40ppm B supplementation. Serum levels of copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) remained similar among the dietary groups, while the manganese (Mn) content was significantly decreased (P<0.01) with increased levels of dietary B. In conclusion, B supplementation increased the hepatic mRNA expression levels of both SOD isoenzymes, thereby improving the immune and antioxidant status.
Keywords: Antioxidant; Boron; Immunity; Superoxide dismutase.
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