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Poult Sci. 2011 Dec;90(12):2790-800. doi: 10.3382/ps.2011-01452.

Early feeding and dietary lipids affect broiler tissue fatty acids, vitamin E status, and cyclooxygenase-2 protein expression upon lipopolysaccharide challenge.

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  • 1Department of Animal Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA.


Newly hatched chicks are often subjected to delayed access to feed and water because of shipment distances and hatchery practices, which may reduce growth and development of the immune system. The current study investigated the effects of early vs. late access to feed and dietary lipids (n-3 vs. n-6) on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced alterations in tissue fatty acids, vitamin E status, and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) protein expression. The chicks (n = 16/group) were fed a high or low n-3 diet within 5 to 5 h 30 min (early) or after 48 h (late) of hatching. Feeding high n-3 diets increased eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5 n-3), docosapentaenoic acid (22:5 n-3), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6 n-3) in the liver, spleen, and plasma (P < 0.05). Feeding low n-3 diets increased arachidonic acid in the liver and plasma (P < 0.05). Early access to feed led to increases in liver oleic acid and reduction in arachidonic acid as compared with late-fed birds (P < 0.05). No effect of time of feeding on fatty acids in the spleen was observed. Early feeding led to significant increases in linoleic and arachidonic acids in the plasma (P < 0.05). Stearic acid was higher in the plasma of low n-3 early-fed as opposed to low n-3 late-fed birds (P < 0.05). The LPS challenge led to an increase in liver total fat content (P < 0.05). The total fat content in the spleen and plasma were not affected by LPS injection (P > 0.05). The LPS-injected birds had decreases in oleic acid in the liver and plasma as compared with saline-injected birds (P < 0.05). Stearic acid increased upon LPS injection in the spleen and plasma (P < 0.05). Liver vitamin E content was significantly higher in saline-injected birds from the early high n-3 group compared with all treatment groups, except for the late low n-3 saline-injected birds (P < 0.05). Plasma vitamin E was highest in the early low n-3 LPS-injected birds compared with all other treatment groups (P < 0.05). The COX2:actin ratio in the early high n-3 LPS-injected birds was higher than that of the saline-injected birds of the same treatment (P < 0.05). However, no difference in COX-2 expression was observed between LPS- or saline-injected fed early low n-3, late high n-3, or late low n-3 diets (P > 0.05). No effect of diet, time of feeding, or LPS challenge on plasma isoprostanes was observed (P > 0.05). These results suggest that dietary and management strategies directed at modulating tissue polyunsaturated fatty acid status may offer the promise of modulating lipid metabolism and COX-2 expression in commercial poultry.

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