The effect of low protein energy-rich diets on plasma hepatic markers, hepatic damage, and discrimination reversal learning in young female chicks

Laura Bona, Nienke van Staaveren, Bishwo Bandhu Pokharel, Marinus van Krimpen, Alexandra Harlander-Matauschek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Consumption of low protein energy-rich (LPER) diets increases susceptibility to metabolic disease in mammals, such as hepatic damage, and can have an adverse effect on cognition. However, the effects of these diets on both physical and mental welfare have not been investigated in domestic meat chickens. Female chicks received a low protein energy-rich or a standard control diet from 21 to 51 days of age. The effects of these dietary manipulations on plasma hepatic markers for liver damage, liver necropsy, and learning a visual discrimination reversal task were assessed. Birds given access to LPER diets weighed less than chicks that had access to the control diets. All chicks had post-mortem signs of hepatic hemorrhage/increased liver color scores and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels above 230 U/L indicative of hepatic damage in birds. The LPER diet had no impact on the performance of female chicks when learning to distinguish colors in a reversal visual discrimination task. The present study suggests that liver damage does not become worse when feeding LPER or impact visual reversal learning in female meat-type chickens. However, the high incidence of liver cell damage/liver hemorrhage, and "abnormal" AST activities are of concern in female broiler chicks across both diets, and suggests that the health of modern meat-type genotypes needs to be improved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2018

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • Enzymes
  • Female broiler
  • Hepatic damage
  • Welfare

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of low protein energy-rich diets on plasma hepatic markers, hepatic damage, and discrimination reversal learning in young female chicks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this