Supplementing rabbit diets with butylated hydroxyanisole affects oxidative stress, growth performance, and meat quality

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a synthetic antioxidant analogous of vitamin E. It is used as a preservative to prevent free radical-mediated oxidation in high-fat foods, and this study’s objective was to investigate the effects of BHA on oxidative stress and apoptosis in addition to delineating its efficacy as a growth-promoting feed additive. 60 weaned male rabbits (V-line) were randomly divided into four equal groups: BHA0.0 (control), BHA50, BHA100, and BHA150, administered basal diets with 0.0, 50, 100, and 150 mg BHA/kg of feed for 60 days. Animals were examined for growth performance, markers of oxidative stress and apoptosis, and meat characteristics. Compared to the control group, rabbits receiving BHA-supplemented diets exhibited increases in BW and average daily gain (P < 0.01), where BHA50 and BHA100 groups showed increased muscle content of methionine aspartic acid, serine, and glutamine (P < 0.05). These two groups also exhibited elevated catalase and superoxide dismutase activities and diminished malondialdehyde levels in the liver. Butylated hydroxyanisole upregulated fatty acid synthase gene (FASN), especially in BHA100 animals. Bcl-2-associated X/B-celllymphoma-2 (Bax/Bcl-2) ratio significantly increased in animals receiving higher doses of BHA, and the weight of the liver significantly increased following BHA treatment. Supplementing growing rabbits with lower doses of dietary BHA may promote growth performance and meat quality via maintaining the redox balance. Hence, the 50-100 mg/kg may be recommended as a safe and still effective feed additive as well as an oxidative stress attenuator.

Keywords: Antioxidant; Apoptosis; Liver; Malondialdehyde; Rabbits.


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