Herbal supplements suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines, boost humoral immunity, and modulate adipokines to enhance the productivity traits of rabbit bucks in hot climatic conditions

Trop Anim Health Prod. 2023 May 25;55(3):227. doi: 10.1007/s11250-023-03640-1.


Thermal stress is the main stressor accounting for reduced productivity, compromised immunity, and collapse of thermoregulatory measures in rabbits in the tropics. The current climate change depicts worsening assault of heat stress in the time ahead; hence, the need to develop combative measures for animal productivity. This research investigates the influence of herbal supplements of three tropical herbs Viscum album (mistletoe), Moringa oleifera (Moringa), and Phyllanthus amarus (Phyllanthus) on immune response, oxidative status, adipokines, and growth of eighty weaned rabbits during heat stress in tropical climate. The bucks were fed with four standard diets; a control and others supplemented with each of Moringa, Phyllanthus, and mistletoe for an eight-week feed trial. Performance indicators were monitored and blood were sampled and assayed for hematology, pro-inflammatory cytokines, adipokines, and oxidative status. The result shows that the performance of bucks fed with Phyllanthus and mistletoe supplements was superior to other groups. The neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio was significantly (p < 0.05) lower in the bucks fed with Moringa supplement, with significantly (p < 0.05) highest values obtained in the control group. Total antioxidant activity of the bucks fed with supplements was significantly (p < 0.05) higher than those on control, with the significantly (p < 0.05) highest value recorded in bucks fed with Phyllanthus. Serum lipid peroxidation of the bucks on control was significantly (p < 0.05) highest and significantly (p < 0.05) least value was obtained in bucks on mistletoe. Heat shock protein 70, adiponectin, and leptin of the bucks on control were significantly (p < 0.05) higher than bucks on herbal supplements. Interleukin 6, interleukin β, and tumor necrosis factor α of bucks on control were significantly (p < 0.05) higher than bucks fed on herbal supplements. In conclusion, the inclusion of herbal supplements Moringa, Phyllanthus, or mistletoe suppressed pro-inflammatory cytokines, boost humoral immunity, enhance the anti-oxidative status, and promote the growth of rabbit bucks during thermal discomfort.

Keywords: Appetite; Cytokines; Free radicals; Immunity; Thermal discomfort.

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines
  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Cytokines*
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Immunity, Humoral
  • Moringa*
  • Rabbits


  • Cytokines
  • Adipokines
  • Antioxidants