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J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2016 Jun;100(3):401-12. doi: 10.1111/jpn.12379. Epub 2015 Aug 6.

Heat stress effects on livestock: molecular, cellular and metabolic aspects, a review.

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  • 1Department of Animal, Food and Halieutic Resources, National Agronomic Institute of Tunisia, Mahragene city, Tunisia.
  • 2Laboratory of Materials, Molecules and Applications, Preparatory Institute for Scientific and Technical Studies, La Marsa, Tunisia.
  • 3Laboratory of Microbiology, Pasteur Institute of Tunisia, Mahragene city, Tunisia.


Elevated ambient temperatures affect animal production and welfare. Animal's reduced production performances during heat stress were traditionally thought to result from the decreased feed intake. However, it has recently been shown that heat stress disturbs the steady state concentrations of free radicals, resulting in both cellular and mitochondrial oxidative damage. Indeed, heat stress reorganizes the use of the body resources including fat, protein and energy. Heat stress reduces the metabolic rates and alters post-absorptive metabolism, regardless of the decreased feed intake. Consequently, growth, production, reproduction and health are not priorities any more in the metabolism of heat-stressed animals. The drastic effects of heat stress depend on its duration and severity. This review clearly describes about biochemical, cellular and metabolic changes that occur during thermal stress in farm animals.


glucose; heat stress; insulin; non-esterified fatty acids; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species

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