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Open Access Putative cardiotoxic compounds extracted from meat meal as a potential risk factor for the development of heart failure in fast-growing commercial broilers

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Thermal processing of meat products generates cardiotoxic compounds capable of inducing heart failure in both humans and laboratory animals. Such compounds may be present in broiler diets because supplements such as meat meal (MM), which are commonly used in broiler rations, are rendered at high temperature. Our objective was to evaluate whether putative cardiotoxic compounds in MM increase the risk of heart failure in broilers. The treatment and control diets were prepared by mixing the condensed MM extract (equivalent to dietary MM inclusion of 25%) or placebo (condensed extraction medium) with commercial broiler feed, and the respective diets were offered to commercial male broilers randomly allocated to either treatment or control groups. Broilers fed a diet spiked with MM extract showed a higher incidence (P<0.05) of chronic heart failure (65.5%) in comparison with the control group (55.4%). Postmortem examination upon termination of the experiment revealed that, in comparison with control broilers, broilers fed diet containing MM extract showed higher incidence of lesions indicative of subclinical heart disease evidenced grossly by ventricular dilation and pericardial effusions, microscopically by changes characteristic of cardiomyocyte degeneration, and ultrastructurally by changes in contractile elements and in mitochondria. Measurements of cardiac high-energy phosphates revealed that broilers fed the diet containing MM extract had lower (P<0.05) levels of cardiac energy reserve as compared with birds fed control diet. We conclude that cardiotoxic factors that can induce patho-physiological changes in the heart are present in MM.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Animal and Poultry Science, 2: Prairie Diagnostic Services, Department of Veterinary Pathology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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