Phenamil, an amiloride derivative, restricts long bone growth and alters keeled-sternum bone architecture in growing chickens
“Broiler-type” chickens are fast-grow-ing, heavy-bodied birds with high demands on bone quality. Phenamil increased mineralization in cultured murine mesenchymal stem cells. Phenamil effects were tested in 2 groups of weight and gender matched day-old broiler chickens (n = 13). Oral administration of 30 mg phenamil/kg body weight d 1 to 13 reduced growth of chicks d 5 to 14 (P = 0.002); with phenamil-treated (PT) chick body weight being 84% of vehicle-treated (VT) chicks' body weight on d 14. Tissues collected on d 15 showed that femur lengths and widths did not differ, but tibias from PT chicks were 6% shorter (P = 0.002) and 13% narrower (P = 0.012) with 18% thinner tibial cross-sections (P < 0.008) than in VT chicks. Angles of the caudal aspect of the anterior surface of keeled-sternums were 166° in PT chicks, flatter than the 148° found in VT chicks (P = 0.000). Total mineral content of both tibia and femur were lower in PT chicks (P = 0.005 for both). Bone Ca, P, and Mg (ppm) in ash were similar, but Ca:P was lower (1.70 vs 1.75) in PT versus VT chicks (P < 0.05). Osteocalcin was ˜20% lower (P = 0.020), PINP was ˜45% higher (P = 0.000) in PT chicks. Carboxy-terminal telopeptide type I collagen (ICTP) and cross-linked N-telopeptide of type I collagen (NTX1) were similar in the 2 groups. Phenamil had unexpected and detrimental effects on bone formation in growing broiler chicks, reducing linear skeletal growth and markedly changing bone architecture.