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Biol Trace Elem Res. 1999 Apr;68(1):63-78.

Tissue-specific antioxidant profiles and susceptibility to lipid peroxidation of the newly hatched chick.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Scottish Agricultural College, Auchincruive, Ayr, UK.


The hatching process is characterized by a range of adaptive changes, and a newly hatched chick is considered as an intermediate stage between prenatal and postnatal development. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the characteristic relationships between tissue-specific fatty acid composition and antioxidant protection in newly hatched chicks. Liver, yolk sac membrane, heart, kidney, lung, and four brain regions (cerebrum, cerebellum, stem, and optic lobes) were collected. Fatty acid composition of total lipids and phosphoglycerides, alpha-tocopherol, lutein, ascorbic acid, reduced glutathione, and the activities of Mn- and Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD) and Se-dependent and non-Se-glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), and catalase (CAT) were determined. The levels of Fe, Cu, Zn, and Mn as well as tissue susceptibility to lipid peroxidation were also studied. The tissues of the newly hatched chick showed distinctive features in fatty acid profiles, antioxidant accumulation, and susceptibility to lipid peroxidation. The brain clearly displayed the greatest susceptibility to spontaneous and Fe-stimulated lipid peroxidation, was highly unsaturated and contained very low levels of vitamin E, no detectable carotenoids, low GSH-Px, and low CAT activity. At the same time, the brain was characterized by high ascorbic acid concentration and comparatively high SOD activity. It was suggested that in postnatal development, antioxidant enzymes presumably play the major role in antioxidant protection of the chick tissues.

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