Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-mrcq8 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-22T16:30:56.476Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Dietary L-carnitine supplementation increases antigen-specific immunoglobulin G production in broiler chickens

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2007

Jan Mast*
Laboratory for Physiology and Immunology of Domestic Animals, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kardinaal Mercierlaan 92, B-3001 Heverlee, xytBelgium
Johan Buyse
Laboratory for Physiology and Immunology of Domestic Animals, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kardinaal Mercierlaan 92, B-3001 Heverlee, xytBelgium
Bruno M. Goddeeris
Laboratory for Physiology and Immunology of Domestic Animals, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kardinaal Mercierlaan 92, B-3001 Heverlee, xytBelgium
*Corresponding author: Dr Jan Mast, fax +32 2 375 0979, email
Rights & Permissions [Opens in a new window]


Core share and HTML view are not available for this content. However, as you have access to this content, a full PDF is available via the ‘Save PDF’ action button.

The usefulness of supplementary dietary L-CARNITINE AS AN IMMUNOMODULATOR TO INCREASE ANTIGEN-SPECIFIC ANTIBODY LEVELS WAS ANALYSED IN 2–6-WEEK-OLD BROILERS. THE CHICKENS RECEIVED COMMERCIAL FEEDS EITHER UNSUPPLEMENTED (STARTER FEED 17·8 MG CARNITINE/KG, FINISHER DIET 22·9 MG CARNITINE/KG) OR SUPPLEMENTED WITH l-carnitine (100 mg carnitine/kg added to feed). At 14 d of age, both groups were distributed in equal numbers and sex ratios over two environmentally controlled chambers where temperature (28°) was either reduced immediately to 20°, or gradually to 22° at 36 d of age. Antigen-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)M, IgG, IgA and total Ig responses were measured following two immunizations with bovine serum albumin (BSA). The typical BSA-specific IgM responses followed by IgG responses to the primary immunization were boosted by the secondary immunization. The kinetics of these responses were not altered by l-carnitine treatment. However, BSA-specific total Ig and IgG, but not IgM, responses were significantly increased by dietary l-carnitine supplementation, after both the primary and the secondary immunization. No significant influence of the sex of the chicks or the imposed environmental temperature on Ig responses was found. Temperature treatment and sex, but not l-carnitine supplementation, did significantly influence body-weight gain: cockerels were heavier than females and this became most evident in the second half of the rearing period. Further, lowering the temperature increased body weight. In conclusion, dietary l-carnitine supplementation appeared to be beneficial in enhancing specific humoral responses on vaccination.

Research Article
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 2000


Barker, DL and Sell, JL (1994) Dietary carnitine did not influence performance and carcass composition of broiler chickens and young turkeys fed low- or high-fat diets .Poultry Science 73, 281287.Google Scholar
Baumgartner, M & Blum, R (1997) Typical L-carnitine contents in feedstuffs. In L-Carnitine in Animal Nutrition. Basle: Lonza Ltd.Google Scholar
Benedict, AA & Berestecky, JM (1987) Special features of avian immunoglobulins. In Avian Immunology: Basis and Practice, vol. I, pp. 113125 [Toivanen, A, and Toivanen, P, editors]. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.Google Scholar
Berchiche, LLegrand, CCapiaumont, JBelleville, F and Nabet, P (1994) Effect of L-carnitine and acylcarnitine derivatives on the proliferation and monoclonal antibody production of mouse hybridoma cells in culture. Journal of Biotechnology 34, 175183.Google Scholar
Bieber, LL (1988) Carnitine. Annual Reviews of Biochemistry 57, 261283.Google Scholar
Bollen, LS and Hau, J (1997) Immunoglobulin G in the developing oocytes of the domestic hen and immunospecific antibody response in serum and corresponding egg yolk. In Vivo 11, 395398.Google Scholar
Cavazza, C (1983) Therapeutical method of treating patients with impaired immune system. United States Patent 4 415 588.Google Scholar
Cifone, MGAlesse, EDi Marzio, LRuggeri, BZazzeroni, FMoretti, SFamularo, GSteinberg, SMVullo, E and De Simone, C (1997) Effect of L-carnitine treatment in vivo on apoptosis and ceramide generation in peripheral blood lymphocytes from AIDS patients .Proceedings of the Association of American Physicians 109, 146153.Google Scholar
Cook, ME (1996) Diet-induced immunosuppression. In Poultry Immunology, pp. 317325 [Davison, TF, Morris, TR and Payne, LN, editors]. Abingdon: Carfax.Google Scholar
Coulter, DL (1995) Carnitine deficiency in epilepsy: risk factors and treatment Journal of Child Neurology 10(Suppl. 2), 2S322S39.Google Scholar
De Simone, CFamularo, GTzantzoglou, STrinchieri, VMoretti, S and Sorice, F (1994) Carnitine depletion in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with AIDS: effect of oral L-carnitine. AIDS 8, 655660.Google Scholar
De Simone, CFerrari, MLozzi, AMeli, DRicca, D and Sorice, F (1982) Vitamins and immunity: II. Influence of L-carnitine on the immune system. Acta Vitaminology and Enzymology 4, 135140.Google Scholar
De Simone, CTzantzoglou, SFamularo, GMoretti, SPaoletti, FVullo, V and Delia, S (1993) High dose L-carnitine improves immunologic and metabolic parameters in AIDS patients .Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 15, 112.Google Scholar
Di Marzio, LAlesse, ERoncaioli, PMuzi, PMoretti, SMarcellini, SAmicosante, GDe Simone, C and Cifone, MG (1997) Influence of L-carnitine on CD95 cross-linking-induced apoptosis and ceramide generation in human cell lines: correlation with its effects on purified acidic and neutral sphingomyelinases in vitro. Proceedings of the Association of American Physicians 109, 154163.Google Scholar
Famularo, G and De Simone, C (1995) A new era for carnitine?. Immunology Today 16, 211213.Google Scholar
Franceschi, CCossarizza, ATroiano, LSalati, R and Monti, D (1990) Immunological parameters in aging: studies on natural immunomodulatory and immunoprotective substances. Inter-national Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Research 10, 5357.Google Scholar
Gropp Schumacher, JMA & Schweigert, FJ (1994) Recent research in vitamin nutrition with special emphasis to vitamin A, β-carotene and L-carnitine. In Proceedings of the Meeting of the Arkansas Nutrition Conference, pp. 124134. Fayetteville, AR: Arkansas Poultry Federation.Google Scholar
Janssens, GPJ and De Wilde, RO (1994) The use of exogenous carnitine in farm animals. Vlaans Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 63, 172178.Google Scholar
Kurth, LFraker, P and Bieber, L (1994) Utilization of intracellular acylcarnitine pools by mononuclear phagocytes. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1201, 321327.Google Scholar
Littell, RCHenry, PR and Ammerman, CB (1998) Statistical analysis of repeated measures data using SAS procedures. Journal of Animal Science 76, 12161231.Google Scholar
Mast, JDesmidt, MRoom, GMartin, CDucatelle, RHaesebrouck, SDavison, TFKaspers, B and Goddeeris, BM (1997) Different methods of bursectomy induce different effects on leukocyte distribution and reactivity .Archive für Geflügelkunde 61, 238246.Google Scholar
Moretti, SAlesse, EDi Marzio, LZazzeroni, FRuggeri, BMarcellini, SFamularo, GSteinberg, SMBoschini, ACifone, MG and De Simone, C (1998) Effect of L-carnitine on human immunodeficiency virus-1 infection-associated apoptosis: a pilot study .Blood 91, 38173824.Google Scholar
National Research Council (1994) Nutrient Requirements of Poultry, 9th revised ed. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
Rabie, MHSzilagyi, M and Gippert, T (1997) Effects of dietary L-carnitine supplementation and protein level on performance and degree of meatness and fatness of broilers. Acta Biologica Hungarica 48, 221239.Google Scholar
Rabie, MHSzilagyi, MGippert, TVotisky, E and Gerendai, D (1997) Influence of dietary L-carnitine on performance and carcass quality of broiler chickens. Acta Biologica Hungarica 48, 241252.Google Scholar
Shug, AL & Gravenstein, S (1996) Method of stimulating antibody formation. United States Patent 5 569 457.Google Scholar
Schumacher, AEissner Gropp, CFlachowsky, JMG & Schubert, T (1993) Carnitine in fish, piglets and quail. In Vitamine und weitere Zusatzstoffe bei Mensch und Tier: IVth Symposium, pp. 407412 [Flachowsky, G, editor]. Jena: Friedrich-Schiller Universitat.Google Scholar
Typlt, HClaus, R and Nitzsche, K (1991) Influence of carnitine on the growth and productivity of murine hybridoma cells. Journal of Biotechnology 18, 173175.Google Scholar
Von Lettner, FZollitsch, W and Halbmayer, E (1992) Use of L-carnitine in the broiler ration. Bodenkultur 43, 161171.Google Scholar
Weeden, TLNelsen, JLHines, RHLi, DF and Swanson, JA (1991) The effect of L-carnitine on the utilisation of soybean oil fed to early weaned pigs. Journal of Animal Science 68, 374.Google Scholar
Winter, BKFiskum, G and Gallo, LL (1995) Effects of L-carnitine on serum triglyceride and cytokine levels in rat models of cachexia and septic shock. British Journal of Cancer 72, 11731179.Google Scholar