Dietary Butylated Hydroxytoluene Protects Against Aflatoxicosis in Turkeys
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Turkeys are among the most sensitive species to the toxic effects of the mycotoxin aflatoxin B1 (AFB1). In mammals, dietary antioxidants, such as butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), have been shown to lessen the toxic effects of AFB1 by various mechanisms. To test whether BHT protects against aflatoxicosis in turkeys, we supplemented the feed of 10-day-old male white turkeys with low (1000 ppm) and high (4000 ppm) BHT for 20 days. AFB1 (1 ppm) was then added to the diets and continued for another 10 days. Birds in the AFB1-only group had a lower weight gain, a condition that had returned to near control in groups fed diets containing AFB1 + BHT. Significant elevations in serum aspartate transaminase, alanine aminotransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase, which were evident in the AFB1 group, were reversed in the AFB1 + BHT groups. Histopathology revealed hepatic submassive necrotic lesions and biliary hyperplasia, the severity of which was lessened in the AFB1 + BHT-treated birds. Hepatocellular hydropic degeneration was observed in the BHT-only group, but not in the AFB1 + BHT groups. This condition associated with BHT treatment was found in a separate study to be reversible and without any long-term adverse effects. These results indicate that BHT counteracts many of the deleterious effects caused by AFB1 and that this antioxidant may prove to be a viable feed additive for the reduction of aflatoxicosis in turkeys.
Klein, P.J., Van Vleet, T.R., Hall, J.O. and R. A. Coulombe, Jr. (2002). Dietary butylated hydroxytoluene protects against aflatoxicosis in turkeys. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 182, 11-19.