Indexed on: 01 Jun '95Published on: 01 Jun '95Published in: Avian pathology : journal of the W.V.P.A
Troponin T is a cardiac-specific protein forming part of the contractile apparatus of striated muscle, and in humans it is a new, sensitive and highly specific indicator of early myocardial damage in 'at risk' patients. Serum troponin T values were investigated in 7-day-old hypoxia- and hyperoxia-treated and 10-day-old ascitic and debilitated commercial broiler chicks. The results showed that there was a significant increase in troponin T values in the hypoxic chicks (P< 0.05) compared with their normoxic flockmates. There was also a small, but insignificant rise in the troponin T values of the hyperoxia-treated chicks. The results confirm previous studies that myocardial damage in these young chicks is associated with hypoxia and that the injury caused permits the measurement of troponin T released from the cardiomyocytes. Significant increases in troponin T were also measured in 10-day-old ascitic (P < 0.05) and debilitated (P < 0.02) broiler chicks compared with age-matched control broilers. In both age-groups of birds, the arterial pressure index, a measurement of right ventricular hypertrophy caused by chronic pulmonary hypertension, was similar with the respective control values and yet the troponin T concentrations were significantly different. These results demonstrate the importance of this assay in young broiler chickens as a marker of early myocardial damage in these birds. It is proposed that this assay for troponin T could be a valuable prognostic tool in future genetic selection programmes to reduce the degree of susceptibility to hypoxia and with it the incidence of ascites in young broilers.