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J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2011 Feb;95(1):114-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2010.01033.x.

Effects of a skullcap root supplement on haematology, serum parameters and antioxidant enzymes in rabbits on a high-cholesterol diet.

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1
Department of Biostructure and Animal Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Norwida 31, Wroclaw, Poland. bozena.kroliczewska@up.wroc.pl

Abstract

We studied the effects of Scutellaria baicalensis root on blood parameters and antioxidant enzyme activities in rabbits fed a high-cholesterol diet. Thirty-two New Zealand White rabbits were divided into four groups of eight animals each. They were fed a standard diet (C group), a diet with a 1% pure cholesterol supplement (CH group), a diet with a 1% pure cholesterol supplement and a 9% skullcap root supplement (CH+SR group), or a diet with a 9% skullcap root supplement (SR group). After 6 weeks, the rabbits fed the high-cholesterol diet had significantly decreased RBC and Hb levels and significantly increased MCV, MCH and Fe levels (p≤ 0.05). The skullcap root supplement had no adverse effects on the haematological parameters. The values for RBC, Hb, HCT, MCV, MCH and MCHC were similar in the skullcap root-treated and control rabbits. We also observed a remarkable elevation in the serum TC, LDL and TG levels at the end of the 6-week period. The rabbits fed the cholesterol diet showed decreased activity of the erythrocyte GSH-Px compared with the rabbits fed the basal diet. The GSH-Px activity was significantly higher in the rabbits fed the CH+SR diet than in those on the CH diet. The erythrocyte SOD activity was also significantly decreased in the rabbits on the CH diet. However, the CH+SR group rabbits showed significantly enhanced erythrocyte SOD activity. The SOD level in the CH+SR rabbits was 34.91 U/ml, which was a 23% increase (p≤ 0.05) in relation to the results for the CH group and only 15% diminished in relation to the control group. These results suggest that the dietary supplementation of skullcap root may improve rabbit antioxidant systems and protect against the risks from a high-cholesterol diet.

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