Skip to main content

Effect of l-theanine on the growth performance, immune function, and jejunum morphology and antioxidant status of ducks

  • C. Zhang (a1), K. K. Chen (a1), X. H. Zhao (a1), C. Wang (a1) and Z. Y. Geng (a1)...

l-theanine is a unique nonproteinogenic amino acid found in tea, and has recently received considerable attention because of its various biological activities. However, there is no available research report on the use of l-theanine as a feed additive in ducks. This study was conducted to investigate the potential benefits and appropriate dosages of l-theanine on the growth performance, immune function, serum biochemical parameters, and jejunum morphology and antioxidant capacity of ducks. A total of 600 1-day-old Chaohu ducks were randomly allocated into five dietary treatment groups supplemented with 0 (control group), 300, 600, 900 and 1500 mg/kg of l-theanine. Each group included five replicates of 24 birds each. Body weight at day 28 was increased (P<0.05) by l-theanine. From days 15 to 28, l-theanine elevated cumulative BW gain (BWG) and cumulative feed intake (FI), and decreased feed to gain ratio. From days 1 to 28, l-theanine elevated (P<0.05) cumulative BWG and cumulative FI. l-theanine elevated (P<0.05) the relative weight of bursa of Fabricus (day 14), thymus (day 14), spleen (day 28) and liver (day 28). On day 28, l-theanine decreased (P<0.05) serum glucose, uric acid, triacylglycerol, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, insulin, interleukin-2 (IL-2) and IL-6 contents, and elevated (P<0.05) serum total protein, globulin (GLB), immune globulin A (IgA) and IgG contents, but only serum insulin, interferon-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α and IL-6 contents was decreased (P<0.05) and serum GLB and IgM content was elevated (P<0.05) by l-theanine on day 14. On day 14, l-theanine decreased (P<0.05) jejunum crypt depth, and elevated (P<0.05) jejunum villus height, villus height to crypt depth ratio (V/C), goblet cell number and total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD) activity. On day 28, l-theanine decreased (P<0.05) jejunum malondialdehyde content, and elevated (P<0.05) jejunum villus height, V/C, goblet cell number, and T-SOD, catalase and glutathione peroxidase activities. l-theanine levels caused quadratic effect on the growth performance, relative organ weight, serum parameters, jejunum morphology and antioxidant capacity. In conclusion, l-theanine can be used as a promising feed additive for ducks, and its optimal supplementation level was 600 to 900 mg/kg based on the current experimental condition.

Corresponding author
Hide All
Al-Fataftah, AR and Abdelqader, A 2014. Effects of dietary Bacillus subtilis on heat-stressed broilers performance, intestinal morphology and microflora composition. Animal Feed Science and Technology 198, 279285.
Ben, P, Zhang, Z, Xuan, C, Sun, S, Shen, L, Gao, Y, Cao, X, Zhou, Y, Lan, L, Yin, Z and Luo, L 2015. Protective effect of l-theanine on cadmium-induced apoptosis in PC12 cells by inhibiting the mitochondria-mediated pathway. Neurochemical Research 40, 16611670.
Borzelleca, JF, Peters, D and Hall, W 2006. A 13-week dietary toxicity and toxicokinetic study with l-theanine in rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology 44, 11581166.
Deng, Y, Xiao, W, Chen, L, Liu, Q, Liu, Z and Gong, Z 2016. In vivo antioxidative effects of l-theanine in the presence or absence of Escherichia coli -induced oxidative stress. Journal of Functional Foods 24, 527536.
Donsbough, AL, Powell, S, Waguespack, A, Bidner, TD and Southern, LL 2010. Uric acid, urea, and ammonia concentrations in serum and uric acid concentration in excreta as indicators of amino acid utilization in diets for broilers. Poultry Science 89, 287294.
Farahat, MH, Abdallah, FM, Ali, HA and Hernandez-Santana, A 2017. Effect of dietary supplementation of grape seed extract on the growth performance, lipid profile, antioxidant status and immune response of broiler chickens. Animal 11, 771777.
Hwang, YP, Jin, SW, Choi, JH, Choi, CY, Kim, HG, Kim, SJ, Kim, Y, Lee, KJ, Chung, YC and Jeong, HG 2017. Inhibitory effects of l-theanine on airway inflammation in ovalbumin-induced allergic asthma. Food and Chemical Toxicology 99, 162169.
Kim, TI, Lee, YK, Park, SG, Choi, IS, Ban, JO, Park, HK, Nam, SY, Yun, YW, Han, SB, Oh, KW and Hong, JT 2009. l-Theanine, an amino acid in green tea, attenuates beta-amyloid-induced cognitive dysfunction and neurotoxicity: reduction in oxidative damage and inactivation of ERK/p38 kinase and NF-kappaB pathways. Free Radical Biology & Medicine 47, 16011610.
Li, GL, Ye, Y, Kang, JJ, Yao, XY, Zhang, YZ, Jiang, W, Gao, M, Dai, YD, Xin, YQ, Wang, Q, Yin, ZM and Luo, L 2012. l-Theanine prevents alcoholic liver injury through enhancing the antioxidant capability of hepatocytes. Food and Chemical Toxicology 50, 363372.
Liang, YR, Liu, C, Xiang, LP and Zheng, XQ 2015. Health benefits of theanine in green tea: a review. Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research 14, 19431949.
Liu, L, Fu, C, Yan, M, Xie, H, Li, S, Yu, Q, He, S and He, J 2016. Resveratrol modulates intestinal morphology and HSP70/90, NF-kappaB and EGF expression in the jejunal mucosa of black-boned chickens on exposure to circular heat stress. Food & Function 7, 13291338.
Liu, LL, He, JH, Xie, HB, Yang, YS, Li, JC and Zou, Y 2014. Resveratrol induces antioxidant and heat shock protein mRNA expression in response to heat stress in black-boned chickens. Poultry Science 93, 5462.
Min, YN, Liu, SG, Qu, ZX, Meng, GH and Gao, YP 2017. Effects of dietary threonine levels on growth performance, serum biochemical indexes, antioxidant capacities, and gut morphology in broiler chickens. Poultry Science 96, 12901297.
Murakami, S, Kurihara, S, Titchenal, CA and Ohtani, M 2010. Suppression of exercise-induced neutrophilia and lymphopenia in athletes by cystine/theanine intake: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 7, 23,
Pope, CR 1991. Pathology of lymphoid organs with emphasis on immunosuppression. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 30, 3144.
Saeed, M, Xu, Y, Hassan, F, Arain, MA, Elhack, MA, Noreldin, A and Sun, C 2018. Influence of graded levels of l-theanine dietary supplementation on growth performance, carcass traits, meat quality, organs histomorphometry, blood chemistry and immune response of broiler chickens. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 19, 462,
Samuel, KG, Wang, J, Yue, HY, Wu, SG, Zhang, HJ, Duan, ZY and Qi, GH 2017. Effects of dietary gallic acid supplementation on performance, antioxidant status, and jejunum intestinal morphology in broiler chicks. Poultry Science 96, 27682775.
Sumathi, T, Asha, D, Nagarajan, G, Sreenivas, A and Nivedha, R 2016. l-Theanine alleviates the neuropathological changes induced by PCB (Aroclor 1254) via inhibiting upregulation of inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress in rat brain. Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology 42, 99117.
Takagi, Y, Kurihara, S, Higashi, N, Morikawa, S, Kase, T, Maeda, A, Arisaka, H, Shibahara, S and Akiyama, Y 2010. Combined administration of (L)-cystine and (L)-theanine enhances immune functions and protects against influenza virus infection in aged mice. The Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 72, 157165.
Terashima, T, Takido, J and Yokogoshi, H 1999. Time-dependent changes of amino acids in the serum, liver, brain and urine of rats administered with theanine. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 63, 615618.
Unno, T, Suzuki, Y, Kakuda, T, Hayakawa, T and Tsuge, H 1999. Metabolism of theanine, gamma-glutamylethylamide, in rats. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 47, 15931596.
Viveros, A, Chamorro, S, Pizarro, M, Arija, I, Centeno, C and Brenes, A 2011. Effects of dietary polyphenol-rich grape products on intestinal microflora and gut morphology in broiler chicks. Poultry Science 90, 566578.
Wen, H, Wei, SL, Zhang, SR, Hou, DX, Xiao, WJ and He, X 2012. Effects of l-theanine on performance and immune function of yellow-feathered broilers. Chinese Journal of Animal Nutrition 24, 19461954.
Yamada, T, Nishimura, Y, Sakurai, T, Terashima, T, Okubo, T, Juneja, LR and Yokogoshi, H 2008. Administration of theanine, a unique amino acid in tea leaves, changed feeding-relating components in serum and feeding behavior in rats. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 72, 13521355.
Yan, Q, Tong, H, Tang, S, Tan, Z, Han, X and Zhou, C 2017. l-Theanine administration modulates the absorption of dietary nutrients and expression of transporters and receptors in the intestinal mucosa of rats. Biomed Research International 2017, 17.
Yang, JY, Zhang, HJ, Wang, J, Wu, SG, Yue, HY, Jiang, XR and Qi, GH 2017. Effects of dietary grape proanthocyanidins on the growth performance, jejunum morphology and plasma biochemical indices of broiler chicks. Animal 11, 762770.
Yason, CV, Summers, BA and Schat, KA 1987. Pathogenesis of rotavirus infection in various age groups of chickens and turkeys: pathology. American Journal of Veterinary Research 48, 927938.
Zhang, C, Ah Kan Razafindrabe, RH, Chen, KK, Zhao, XH, Yang, L, Wang, L, Chen, XY, Jin, SH and Geng, ZY 2018a. Effects of different rearing systems on growth performance, carcass traits, meat quality and serum biochemical parameters of Chaohu ducks. Animal Science Journal 89, 672678.
Zhang, C, Wang, L, Zhao, XH, Chen, XY, Yang, L and Geng, ZY 2017a. Dietary resveratrol supplementation prevents transport-stress-impaired meat quality of broilers through maintaining muscle energy metabolism and antioxidant status. Poultry Science 96, 22192225.
Zhang, C, Yang, L, Zhao, XH, Chen, XY, Wang, L and Geng, ZY 2018b. Effect of dietary resveratrol supplementation on meat quality, muscle antioxidative capacity and mitochondrial biogenesis of broilers. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 98, 12161221.
Zhang, C, Zhao, XH, Wang, L, Yang, L, Chen, XY and Geng, ZY 2017b. Resveratrol beneficially affects meat quality of heat-stressed broilers which is associated with changes in muscle antioxidant status. Animal Science Journal 88, 15691574.
Zhang, C, Zhao, XH, Yang, L, Chen, XY, Jiang, RS, Jin, SH and Geng, ZY 2017c. Resveratrol alleviates heat stress-induced impairment of intestinal morphology, microflora, and barrier integrity in broilers. Poultry Science 96, 43254332.
Zhang, HY, Piao, XS, Zhang, Q, Li, P, Yi, JQ, Liu, JD, Li, QY and Wang, GQ 2013. The effects of Forsythia suspensa extract and berberine on growth performance, immunity, antioxidant activities, and intestinal microbiota in broilers under high stocking density. Poultry Science 92, 19811988.
Zheng, GD, Sayama, K, Okubo, T, Juneja, LR and Oguni, I 2004. Anti-obesity effects of three major components of green tea, catechins, caffeine and theanine, in mice. In Vivo 18, 5562.
Zukhurova, M, Prosvirnina, M, Daineko, A, Simanenkova, A, Petrishchev, N, Sonin, D, Galagudza, M, Shamtsyan, M, Juneja, LR and Vlasov, T 2013. L-theanine administration results in neuroprotection and prevents glutamate receptor agonist-mediated injury in the rat model of cerebral ischemia-reperfusion. Phytotherapy Research 27, 12821287.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 1751-7311
  • EISSN: 1751-732X
  • URL: /core/journals/animal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed