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  • 1 Shahrekord University Department of Animal Science Shahrekord 88186-34141 Iran
  • 2 Medical and Research Center Shaheed Rajaei Cardiovascular Vali-Asr Avenue Tehran Iran
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An experiment was carried out to examine the effects of L-carnitine supplementation on growth performance and cardiopulmonary function of broiler chickens reared at high altitude (2100 m above sea level). A total of 96 day-old male chicks (Cobb 500) were randomly assigned into two dietary treatments containing 0 (control group) and 200 mg/kg L-carnitine. The experimental diets were fed for a period of 42 days consisting of the starting (days 1 to 21) and growing periods (days 21 to 42). Nutrient requirements of chickens met the NRC (1994) recommendations. The results showed that dietary L-carnitine had no significant influence on body weight gain, feed intake and feed conversion ratio. L-carnitine reduced plasma concentration of malondialdehyde, packed cell volume (PCV) and abdominal fat deposition compared to the control (P < 0.05). A significant (P < 0.05) decrease was observed in the right to total ventricular weight ratio (RV:TV) in birds receiving L-carnitine when compared to the control. Supplementation of L-carnitine increased plasma nitric oxide and immune responsiveness, which manifested in an increased toe-web thickness index measured at 24 h following the injection of phytohaemagglutinin P. In conclusion, supplementation of L-carnitine had beneficial effects on preventing lipid peroxidation and pulmonary hypertension in broiler chickens raised at high altitude.

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