Animal : an international journal of animal bioscience

The detoxication of nitrate by two antioxidants or a probiotic, and the effects on blood and seminal plasma profiles and reproductive function of New Zealand White rabbit bucks.

PMID 23177268


Forty-two New Zealand White male rabbits were housed individually in wire cages and randomly distributed among six experimental groups of seven rabbits each, during 16 to 61 weeks of age. There were three main nitrate groups: 0 (tap water), 350 and 700 ppm. Within the 700 ppm of nitrate, there were four subgroups, in which one group was used as control group and the other three groups were supplemented with either 200 ppm of ascorbic acid (vitamin (Vit) C), 200 ppm of Vit E with 0.2 ppm of selenium (Se) and 1000 ppm of probiotic. The nitrate was supplemented as a sodium nitrate. The aim is to test the ability of Vit C and Vit E, Se and probiotic on the deleterious effects (blood and seminal plasma biochemical constituents, semen quality and productive performance) of nitrate in drinking water. Rabbits given nitrate at 700 ppm had significantly lower plasma globulin, red blood cells (RBCs), hemoglobin (Hgb), packed cell volume % (PCV%) and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) than those given the other concentrations of nitrate. Vit C, Vit E with Se and probiotic resulted in significantly (P < 0.05) greater Hgb, RBCs, PCV% and TAC than those of bucks given water supplemented with only 700 ppm nitrate, but the aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase concentrations in seminal plasma were lower. Testosterone in the blood plasma and the seminal plasma was significantly (P < 0.05) lower in rabbits given 700 ppm nitrate than in those given other concentrations of nitrate. Vit C, Vit E with Se and the probiotic significantly increased testosterone, fertility, number of offspring and total offspring weight of rabbits sired by bucks supplemented with 700 ppm of nitrate.