This study was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary palm oil inclusion levels on growth performance, serum antioxidative status and cytokines in Sanhuang broiler chickens. A total of 208 one-day-old female Sanhuang chickens were randomly allocated to four treatment groups with four replicates per group and of 13 birds each for a 42-day feeding trial. Dietary treatments were basal diet without palm oil (control) and diets containing 2%, 4% or 6% palm oil. During days 22 to 42 and the overall experimental period, chickens fed diets supplemented with 4% and 6% palm oil had a lower average daily feed intake (ADFI) (p = 0.019) and feed to gain ratio (F/G) (p = 0.031). Average daily gain (ADG) tended to be higher (p = 0.089) for palm oil inclusion treatments compared with the control treatment from days 1 to 42. Dietary 2% and 4% palm oil treatments significantly lowed serum malondialdehyde concentration on day 21 when compared to the control and 6% palm oil treatments (p = 0.027). Dietary 6% palm oil treatment significantly reduced the catalase (CAT) activity (p = 0.018) and total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC) (p = 0.027) in serum in comparison with the control treatment on day 21. No significant differences were observed in superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities in serum among dietary treatments on day 21. There were no significant differences in T-AOC, CAT, SOD and GSH-Px activities among dietary treatments on day 42. Dietary inclusion of 4% and 6% palm oil significantly increased (p = 0.01) serum interleukin-1β (IL-1β) content, but improved transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) content in serum on both days 21 and 42 (p = 0.032 and 0.022 respectively) as well as IL-10 content on day 42 (p = 0.022) when compared with the control treatment. Furthermore, dietary inclusion of 6% palm oil significantly reduced tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) content on days 21 and 42 (p = 0.021 and 0.001 respectively) compared with the control treatment. These results suggest that dietary inclusion of 4% and 6% palm oil could improve the growth performance, modulate the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and show limited effect on antioxidative status in Sanhuang broiler chickens.
Keywords: Sanhuang broiler chickens; antioxidant function; cytokines; growth performance; palm oil.
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