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Poult Sci. 1996 Aug;75(8):966-72.

Association of lowered plasma carotenoids with protection against cecal coccidiosis by diets high in n-3 fatty acids.

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USDA, Livestock and Poultry Sciences Institute, Beltsville, Maryland, USA.


A series of four experiments was run to assess the effectiveness of diets containing high amounts of n-3 fatty acids in reducing the pathological effects of cecal coccidiosis in chickens caused by Eimeria tenella. To determine whether the dietary effects were related to development of oxidative stress, plasma samples were analyzed for tocopherols and carotenoids. Plasma vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) values were not consistent between experiments. Total plasma carotenoids, however, were significantly decreased by 2.5 to 20% diet supplementation with fish oil in several experiments. These decreases coincided with significant reductions in lesion scores. Under the experimental conditions, total plasma carotenoid concentrations may serve as a sensitive indicator for oxidative stress, which may be a factor in reducing cecal lesions in E. tenella infections.

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