Metabolic characteristics and oxidative damage to skeletal muscle in broiler chickens exposed to chronic heat stress

M. A.K. Azad, M. Kikusato, T. Maekawa, H. Shirakawa, M. Toyomizu

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177 Citations (Scopus)


Emerging evidence has shown that acute heat exposure affects metabolic characteristics and causes oxidative damage to skeletal muscle in birds. Little is known, however, about such phenomena under chronic heat stress conditions. To address this, we designed the present study to determine the influence of cyclic (32 to 24 to 32 °C: 32 °C for 8 h/d, 32-24-32HS ), and constant (32 and 34 °C, 32HS and 34HS, respectively) heat exposure on the metabolic and peroxide status in skeletal muscle of 4-wk-old male broiler chickens. Heat stress, particularly in the 32HS and 34HS groups, depressed feed intake and growth, while cyclic high temperature gave rise to a less severe stress response in performance terms. Malondialdehyde (MDA) levels in skeletal muscle were enhanced (P < 0.05) by constant heat treatment; the degree of enhancement was not as large as the changes observed in our previous 'acute' heat stress model. The 3HADH (3-hydroxyacyl CoA dehydrogenase related to fatty acid oxidation) and CS (citrate synthase) enzyme activities were lowered (P < 0.05) by both the cyclic and constant 34HS treatments, and constant 34HS group, respectively. These results suggest that chronic heat exposure decreases metabolic oxidation capacity in skeletal muscle of broiler chickens. On exposure to chronic heat stress, GPx activity remained relatively constant, though a temperature-dependent elevation in Cu/Zn-SOD activity was observed, implying that anti-oxidation ability was disturbed by the chronic stress condition. From these results it can be concluded that chronic heat stress did not induce oxidative damage to a major extent. This may probably be due to a decrease in metabolic oxidation capacity or due to a self-propagating scavenging system, though the system was not fully activated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-406
Number of pages6
JournalComparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar


  • Broiler chicken
  • Heat stress
  • Oxidative damage
  • Scavenging systems


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