The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) on fat metabolism and to establish the molecular mechanism of these effects in broilers. Seventy-two 28-day-old male Ross 308 broiler chickens were divided into three groups with different levels of EGCG supplementation for 4 weeks: normal control (NC) group, L-EGCG (a low-level supplement of EGCG, 40 mg/kg body weight daily) and H-EGCG (a high-level supplement of EGCG, 80 mg/kg body weight daily). After 4 weeks of oral administration, EGCG significantly reduced the level of abdominal fat deposition in broilers. The serum triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol of chickens in H-EGCG group were also significantly decreased compared with the NC group, and the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was notably increased at the same time. Moreover, the vital role of the liver and abdominal adipose tissue in lipid metabolism of poultry animals was examined through gene expression and enzyme activities related to fat anabolism and catabolism in these organs. Our data show that EGCG supplementation for 2 weeks significantly downregulated the expression of fatty acid synthesis and fat deposition-related genes, and upregulated the expression of genes involved in fatty acid β-oxidation and lipolysis genes. Simultaneously, the activities of hepatic fatty acid synthesis enzymes (fatty acid synthase and acetyl CoA carboxylase) were significantly decreased, and the activity of carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1 was notably elevated. The results suggest that EGCG could alleviate fat deposition in broilers through inhibiting fat anabolism and stimulating lipid catabolism in broilers.
Keywords: broiler chickens; enzyme activity; epigallocatechin gallate; gene expression; lipid metabolism.
Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition © 2014 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.