Physiological and biochemical aspects of methionine isomers and a methionine analogue in broilers

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Methionine is the first limiting amino acid in all poultry corn-soybean based diets. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of supplementation of L-methionine (L-Met), DL-methionine (DL-Met), and the methionine analogue, DL-2-hydroxy-4-(methylthio) butanoic acid (DL-HMTBA), on biochemical and physiological parameters of broiler chickens. Male Cobb-500 broilers were fed from day of hatch (d 0) to d 35 posthatch using a basal diet deficient in methionine plus cysteine (Met + Cys) (control), or the basal diet supplemented with 0.22% DL-Met, 0.22% L-Met, or 0.31% DL-HMTBA to meet the Met + Cys requirements. Tissue (liver, duodenum, jejunum, and ileum) and blood samples were collected at various ages, from d 0 to d 35. Performance of the birds, blood parameters (e.g., acute phase proteins, white blood cell counts), mRNA expression of intestinal nutrient transporters and DNA methylation properties of liver tissues were examined. Both body weight and feed efficiency were improved in methionine supplemented groups compared to the control group. No significant differences were observed among DL-Met, L-Met, and DL-HMTBA for growth performance parameters. L-Met and DL-Met supplementation decreased the acute phase protein, serum amyloid A, while DL-HMTBA had no effect. Methionine supplementation had no effect on white blood cell differentiation count, hepatic total DNA methylation, or DNA methyltransferase activity. L-Met and DL-Met, but not DL-HMTBA, supplementation, resulted in enhanced expression of the ATB0,+ and B0AT transporters in various small intestinal segments. All methionine sources increased expression of MCT1 in the jejunum. In conclusion, methionine supplementation improved growth performance of male broilers. Methionine supplementation was also associated with changes in intestinal nutrient transporter gene expression in certain segments and ages, suggesting that intestinal amino acid absorptive function can be regulated by the source of amino acid and effects are complex and dynamic.

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