The effect of dietaryl-carnitine supplementation on pulmonary hypertension syndrome mortality in broilers exposed to low temperatures
Oxidative stress is involved in the development of pulmonary hypertension syndrome (PHS) in broilers.l-Carnitine has an antiperoxidative effect and supplementall-carnitine has been revealed to increase broiler heart weight. The present study was conducted to evaluate the effect of an addition of 100 mg/kgl-carnitine to the basal diets on PHS mortality in cold-exposed broilers. Two-hundred and forty mixed-sex broilers were equally assigned to three groups. The control group was reared in normal temperatures throughout the experiment. Starting on day 14 continuing until the end of the experiment, the other two groups were subjected to a step-down temperature programme (by lowering the temperature 1–2 °C per day down to 12–14 °C) with or withoutl-carnitine added to the basal diets. Cold exposure increased the right/total ventricle ratio (RV/TV) and plasma malondialdehyde (MDA), reduced superoxide dismutase (SOD) and led to pulmonary vascular remodelling in birds without feeding additionall-carnitine. Supplementall-carnitine reduced plasma MDA, increased SOD, inhibited remodelling and postponed the occurrence of PHS for 1 week in cold-exposed broilers; nevertheless, it did not significantly influence the cumulative PHS mortality (p > 0.05). On days 24 and 32, birds fed supplementall-carnitine had lower RV/TV and higher total ventricle/body weight (p < 0.05) but unchanged right ventricle/body weight ratios (p > 0.05) compared to their cold-exposed counterparts, indicating an increase in left ventricle weight. However, from day 39 on, their RV/TV ratios were suddenly increased (p < 0.05). It was suggested that thel-carnitine-induced increase in left heart weight might partially account for the postponed occurrence of pulmonary hypertension in the early stage by elevating cardiac output, which might, in turn, lead to the resulting increase in pulmonary pressure. In view of its complex effects on cardiopulmonary haemodynamics,l-carnitine supplementation may be impractical for reducing PHS.
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