Growth performance, selected blood biochemical parameters and body weights of pre-pubertal gilts fed diets supplemented with different doses of zearalenone (ZEN)

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The aim of this study was to determine whether exposure to low doses of zearalenone (ZEN) induces changes in the serum biochemical profile and body weights (BW). Pre-pubertal gilts (with BW of up to 14.5 kg) were administered ZEN in daily doses of 5 μg/kg BW (group 1, n = 15), 10 μg/kg BW (group 2, n = 15), 15 μg/kg BW (group 3, n = 15) or placebo (control group C, n = 15) throughout the experiment. Blood was sampled for analysis on 10 dates (at five-day intervals). Minor but statistically significant differences in the analysed serum biochemical parameters (ALT, AST, ALP, total cholesterol, total bilirubin, glucose, total protein, iron, BUN and urea) were observed in the studied groups. The biochemical parameters of the analysed gilts indicate that the maintenance of homeostasis and biotransformation of ZEN require considerable energy expenditure. Beginning on the fourth analytical date, BW gains were consistently higher in the experimental groups than in group C. The observed decrease in glucose and total protein levels can probably be attributed to higher BW gains and the ongoing ZEN biotransformation processes in the enterocytes and the liver.HighlightsExposure to low doses of ZEN induces a decrease in glucose and total protein levels, which contributes to weight gains.Low ZEN doses induce adaptive and/or compensatory mechanisms in pre-pubertal gilts.Low doses of ZEN (MABEL, NOAEL and LOAEL) can exert a stimulatory effect on pre-pubertal gilts.

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