African Journal of

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Biotechnol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1684-5315
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJB
  • Start Year: 2002
  • Published Articles: 12412

Full Length Research Paper

Vitamin C attenuates copper-induced oxidative damage in broiler chickens

O. R. Ajuwon1* and O. M. O. Idowu2  
1Oxidative Stress Research Centre, Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Bellville Campus, Bellville 7535, South Africa. 2Department of Animal Nutrition, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, P.M.B. 2240, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria.  
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 27 July 2010
  •  Published: 01 November 2010



This study was conducted to evaluate the protective effects of vitamin C on copper-induced oxidative damage in the erythrocyte and liver of broiler chickens. Three week old birds were fed a basal diet (n = 40), or basal diet supplemented with 250 mg CuSO4/kg diet (n = 40) for 56 days. On the 57th day, the birds of the two groups were further subdivided and fed for 14 days as follows: Group 1A (Control, n = 20), fed with basal diet only. Group 1B (Vitamin C, n = 20), fed with basal diet and 100 mg/kg diet vitamin C. Group 2A (CuSO4, n = 20), fed with basal diet and 250 mg CuSO4/kg diet. Group 2B (CuSO4 + Vitamin C, n = 20), fed with basal diet, 250 mg CuSO4/kg diet and 100 mg/kg diet vitamin C. Copper supplementation for eight weeks caused oxidative damage as evidenced by a significant (p < 0.05) increase in copper level and lipid peroxidation as well as decreased antioxidant enzymes [superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT)] activities and reduced glutathione (GSH) level. Vitamin C supplementation for 14 days resulted in a significant (p < 0.05) reduction in copper level in exposed birds. Erythrocyte and liver lipid peroxidation were reduced by 48 and 52%, respectively. SOD and CAT activities also increased significantly (p < 0.05), and the decreased level of GSH that was observed in the copper exposed birds was reversed. Our findings indicate that vitamin C may be beneficial in preventing copper-induced oxidative damage in poultry, and shows potential for veterinary use.


Key words: Antioxidant systems, broiler chickens, catalase, copper, glutathione, oxidative damage, superoxide dismutase, vitamin C.