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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #73829


item Kubena, Leon
item BAILEY, C

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/10/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Aflatoxins are a group of toxic chemicals produced by fungi and are known to be natural contaminants of feedstuffs fed to poultry and livestock. Aflatoxins have been reported to reduce the immune function in various animals, thus lowering their resistance to some pathogenic agents. Certain carotenoids such as beta-carotene and canthaxanthin have been shown to increase resistance to pathogenic agents and significantly enhance immune response. Feeding chicks various levels of these carotenoids, in the presence or absence of aflatoxins, did not affect antibody production against infectious bursal disease virus (a disease of chickens). Canthaxanthin appears to provide some protection against the toxicity of aflatoxins as shown by a decrease in some serum enzyme activities which are increased by aflatoxins due to tissue damage and leakage into the blood. This research provides additional information on the effects of carotenoids on immune function during aflatoxicosis and may be useful in assessing the factors associated with altered immune function.

Technical Abstract: In a 2 x 3 x 3 factorial experiment, 240 broiler chicks were fed diets containing 0, 0.01, and 0.02% beta-carotene or canthaxanthin with or without 5 ppm aflatoxin to determine the effects of these two carotenoids on blood chemistry and antibody production against infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV). Aflatoxin had no effect on primary antibody production but enhanced secondary antibody production against IBDV. Beta- carotene and canthaxanthin had no effect on antibody production. The relative weight of the bursa of Fabricius was not affected by aflatoxin, beta-carotene or canthaxanthin. Aflatoxin significantly increased the relative weight of the spleen, the concentration of blood urea nitrogen, the activities of creatine kinase and gamma glutamyl transferase while decreasing the concentrations of albumin, calcium, cholesterol, glucose, inorganic phosphate, total protein, and uric acid in birds receiving diets containing beta-carotene. Aflatoxin had similar effects with respect to canthaxanthin, however, the concentrations of calcium, glucose, and inorganic phosphate were not significantly reduced, nor were the concentrations of cholesterol, total protein, uric acid, and triglyceride.