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Poult Sci. 2001 Jun;80(6):727-34.

Efficacy of N-acetylcysteine to reduce the effects of aflatoxin B1 intoxication in broiler chickens.

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Agricultural Sciences Centre, Jesus Maria, Aguascalientes, Mexico.


N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been used safely in humans and in other mammals as an antidote against several toxic and carcinogenic agents, including aflatoxin B1 (AFB1). The aim of this study was to evaluate the capability of dietary supplementation with NAC to ameliorate the effects of subacute intoxication with AFB1 in broiler chickens. One hundred twenty male Hubbard 1-d-old chickens were allocated into one of four dietary treatments: 1) control group without treatment, 2) purified AFB1 added to diet (3 mg/kg of feed) for 21 d, 3) NAC (800 mg/kg BW, daily), or 4) AFB1 plus NAC at the same doses as Groups 2 and 3. Broilers treated with AFB1 plus NAC were shown to be partially protected against deleterious effects on BW (57.8%), daily weight gain (49.1%), feed conversion index (21.4%), plasma and hepatic total protein concentration (45.2, 66.7%), plasma alanine aminotransferase (67.4%), hepatic glutathione-S-transferase (18.8%), and reduced glutathione liver concentration (75.0%). In addition, they showed less intense liver fading, friable texture, and microvesicular steatosis. In the kidney, thickening of glomerular basement membrane was also less severe in NAC+AFB1-treated chickens than in AFB1-treated chickens. Our results suggest that NAC provided protection against negative effects on performance, liver and renal damage, and biochemical alterations induced by AFB1 in broiler chickens. Effects of NAC alone on chick performance were also evaluated. Addition of NAC to diet (800 mg/kg BW) did not negatively affect feed consumption, conversion index, or serum chemistry and did not induce structural changes in the liver or kidney.

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