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Supplementation of a grape seed and grape marc meal extract decreases activities of the oxidative stress-responsive transcription factors NF-κB and Nrf2 in the duodenal mucosa of pigs

Denise K Gessner, Anja Fiesel, Erika Most, Jennifer Dinges, Gaiping Wen, Robert Ringseis and Klaus Eder*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Animal Nutrition and Nutrition Physiology, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32, 35392, Gießen, Germany

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Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2013, 55:18  doi:10.1186/1751-0147-55-18

Published: 2 March 2013



In pigs, enteric infections and the development of gut disorders such as diarrhoea are commonly observed, particularly after weaning. The present study investigated the hypothesis that feeding a grape seed and grape marc extract (GSGME) as a dietary supplement has the potential to suppress the inflammatory process in the small intestine of pigs by modulating the activities of NF-κB and Nrf2 due to its high content of flavonoids.


Twenty-four crossbred, 6 weeks old pigs were randomly assigned to 2 groups of 12 animals each and fed nutritionally adequate diets without or with 1% GSGME for 4 weeks.


Pigs administered GSGME had a lower transactivation of NF-κB and Nrf2 and a lower expression of various target genes of these transcription factors in the duodenal mucosa than control pigs (P < 0.05). Concentrations of α-tocopherol and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) in liver and plasma and total antioxidant capacity of plasma and relative mRNA abundances of NF-κB and Nrf2 target genes in the liver did not differ between the two groups. However, the ratio of villus height:crypt depth and the gain:feed ratio was higher in the pigs fed GSGME than in control pigs (P < 0.05).


This study shows that dietary supplementation of a polyphenol rich GSGME suppresses the activity of NF-κB in the duodenal mucosa of pigs and thus might provide a useful dietary strategy to inhibit inflammation in the gut frequently occurring in pigs. Feeding GSGME did not influence vitamin E status and the antioxidant system of the pigs but improved the gain:feed ratio. In overall, the study suggests that polyphenol-rich plant extracts such GSGME could be useful feed supplements in pig nutrition, in order to maintain animal health and improve performance.

NF-κB; Nrf2; Polyphenol; Pig; Intestine