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Poult Sci. 2009 Dec;88(12):2620-7. doi: 10.3382/ps.2009-00204.

Effects of turmeric (Curcuma longa) on the expression of hepatic genes associated with biotransformation, antioxidant, and immune systems in broiler chicks fed aflatoxin.

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Division of Animal Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.


The objective of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of curcumin, an antioxidant found in turmeric (Curcuma longa) powder (TMP), to ameliorate changes in gene expression in the livers of broiler chicks fed aflatoxin B(1) (AFB(1)). Four pen replicates of 5 chicks each were assigned to each of 4 dietary treatments, which included the following: A) basal diet containing no AFB(1) or TMP (control), B) basal diet supplemented with TMP (0.5%) that supplied 74 mg/kg of curcumin, C) basal diet supplemented with 1.0 mg of AFB(1)/kg of diet, and D) basal diet supplemented with TMP that supplied 74 mg/kg of curcumin and 1.0 mg of AFB(1)/kg of diet. Aflatoxin reduced (P < 0.05) feed intake and BW gain and increased (P < 0.05) relative liver weight. Addition of TMP to the AFB(1) diet ameliorated (P < 0.05) the negative effects of AFB(1) on growth performance and liver weight. At the end of the 3-wk treatment period, livers were collected (6 per treatment) to evaluate changes in the expression of genes involved in antioxidant function [catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione S-transferase (GST)], biotransformation [epoxide hydrolase (EH), cytochrome P450 1A1 and 2H1 (CYP1A1 and CYP2H1)], and the immune system [interleukins 6 and 2 (IL-6 and IL-2)]. Changes in gene expression were determined using the quantitative real-time PCR technique. There was no statistical difference in gene expression among the 4 treatment groups for CAT and IL-2 genes. Decreased expression of SOD, GST, and EH genes due to AFB(1) was alleviated by inclusion of TMP in the diet. Increased expression of IL-6, CYP1A1 and CYP2H1 genes due to AFB(1) was also alleviated by TMP. The current study demonstrates partial protective effects of TMP on changes in expression of antioxidant, biotransformation, and immune system genes in livers of chicks fed AFB(1). Practical application of the research is supplementation of TMP in diets to prevent or reduce the effects of aflatoxin in chicks fed aflatoxin-contaminated diets.

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