Res. Vet. Sci. 155, 36-43, 2023
Heat stress (HS) is one of the most severe hurdles impacting rabbit growth, immunity, homeostasis, and productivity. Alginate oligosaccharides (AOS) have considerable beneficial effects due to their plausible antioxidant and immune-stimulatory properties. This work was planned to explore the preventive function of AOS as a new bio-feed additive against the harmful effects caused by environmental HS on growing rabbits. Rabbits were allotted in four experimental groups (25 animals in each group) and fed on a basal diet supplemented with 0.0 (AOS0), 50 (AOS50), 100 (AOS100), and 150 (AOS150) mg AOS/kg diet reared under summer conditions. Dietary AOS supplementation improved significantly (P ≤ 0.001) feed conversion rate, while both AOS100 and AOS150 significantly (P ≤ 0.001) enhanced the final body weight and body weight gain. All AOS addition significantly increased nitric oxide and lysosome activity and significantly reduced interferon-gamma (IFNγ) compared with those in the control group. Tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), interleukin1β (IL-1β), myeloperoxidase and protein carbonyl levels were significantly reduced in rabbits fed diets containing AOS (100 and 150 mg/kg) compared with those in the control group under heat stress conditions. In addition, glutathione (GSH) and catalase (CAT) were significantly (P ≤ 0.001) improved with increasing AOS dietary levels compared with the control group. Still, total antioxidant capacity (TAC), malondialdehyde (MDA), hematocrit, mean corpuscular volume (MCV), eosinophils, and lymphocytes did not change. Erythrocyte's indices improved significantly (P ≤ 0.001), while neutrophils and white blood cell counts were decreased by dietary AOS inclusion. Immunological (IgM and IgG) were markedly reduced in AOS-treated groups compared with the control group. The current investigation exemplified that AOS as a novel bio-feed additive that could be an effective strategy to extenuate prejudicial effects in heat-stressed rabbits via enhancing immunity, and antioxidant defence system, further regulating the inflammation cytokines.