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The effect of an acute phase response on tissue carotenoid levels of growing chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus).

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Department of Animal Science, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Plasma, liver and skin carotenoids decrease following infectious disease challenges. Since these challenges often involve substantial host pathology and chronic immune responses, the mechanism underlying altered carotenoid deposition is unclear. Therefore, changes in tissue carotenoid levels were examined during an acute phase response induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or interleukin-1 (IL-1). In two experiments, chicks were hatched from carotenoid-deplete eggs (n=28, n=64, respectively) and fed 0, 8 or 38 mg carotenoids (lutein+canthaxanthin)/kg diet. For chicks fed 38 mg carotenoids, but not those fed 0 or 8 mg, LPS generally reduced plasma lutein, canthaxanthin and total carotenoids (P<0.05), and liver lutein, zeaxanthin, canthaxanthin and total carotenoids (P<0.05). Additionally, LPS reduced thymic total carotenoids (P=0.05) and increased thymocyte lutein (P=0.07), zeaxanthin (P=0.07) and total carotenoids (P=0.07). Finally, LPS increased bursal canthaxanthin (P<0.01), but had no effect on shank carotenoids (P>0.5). In chicks hatched from carotenoid-replete eggs (n=36) and fed dietary lutein (38 mg/kg diet), LPS reduced plasma and liver zeaxanthin and liver total carotenoids (P<0.05); IL-1 reduced plasma and liver lutein, zeaxanthin and total carotenoids (P<0.05). Therefore, an acute phase response plays a role in reduced tissue carotenoids during infectious disease.

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