Therapeutic effect of flax-based diets on fatty liver in aged laying hens

Poult Sci. 2016 Nov 1;95(11):2624-2632. doi: 10.3382/ps/pew160. Epub 2016 May 3.


This study examined the ability of flax-based ingredients to attenuate nonalcoholic fatty liver disease ( NAFLD: ) in aged laying hens-a novel and more physiologically relevant model of human disease. Our results showed only hens supplemented with whole flaxseed ( WFX: ) reduced steatosis and hepatocellular ballooning. Serum AST was also reduced in hens provided WFX and defatted flaxseed meal ( DFM: ). Hepatic ω-3 PUFA enrichment was improved with supplementation of WFX, DFM, and flaxseed oil ( FXO: ). However, this effect was more evident in the WFX group. In contrast, transcript abundance of genes linked to NAFLD were predominantly modified with FXO supplementation. Taken together, our data indicate a potential synergistic relationship between the fatty acid and lignan content in flaxseed which attenuated the progression of NAFLD in aged laying hens. Although more research is necessary, these findings demonstrate the potential use of whole flaxseed for the treatment and prevention of NAFLD in humans.

Keywords: Flaxseed; hepatic steatosis; laying hen; lignan; omega-3 fatty acid.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Chickens / physiology
  • Diet*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Flax / chemistry
  • Flax / metabolism*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / diet therapy*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / etiology
  • Random Allocation
  • Seeds / chemistry