Dietary methylsulfonylmethane supplementation and oxidative stress in broiler chickens

M. S.Abdul Rasheed, M. L. Oelschlager, B. N. Smith, L. L. Bauer, R. A. Whelan, R. N. Dilger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organic, sulfur-containing compound widely used as a dietary supplement to improve joint health and treat arthritic pain. An experiment was conducted to study the effects of feeding 0.05% MSM to broilers exposed to diet-induced oxidative stress on tissue MSM distribution, growth performance, oxidative stress biomarkers, and immune responsivity. A total of 528 birds were allocated to 4 dietary treatments (fresh oil-no MSM, fresh oil-MSM, oxidized oil-no MSM, oxidized oil-MSM) as provided ad libitum to 11 replicate cages of 12 birds per treatment. Blood and tissue samples were collected to analyze MSM concentrations, and oxidative stress biomarkers including concentrations of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), total antioxidant capacity (TAC), total glutathione, and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and reductase (GR) activities. Additionally, blood samples collected at day 25 were used to quantify T-cell (TC) populations using flow cytometry. Overall, MSM was quantified in all tissues and plasma samples of MSM-treated groups at all time points. Oxidized oil reduced (P = 0.006) feed intake over the 21-d feeding period, but MSM did not affect growth equally across time points. No effects (P > 0.2) of MSM or oil type were observed on TC populations. In the presence of oxidized oil, MSM reduced (P = 0.013) plasma TBARS and increased (P = 0.02) liver GPx at day 21, and increased (P = 0.06) liver GR at day 7. Irrespective of dietary oil type, groups supplemented with MSM showed higher plasma TAC at day 7 (P = 0.023), liver GPx activity at day 21 (P = 0.003), and liver GR activity at day 7 (P = 0.004) compared with groups not receiving MSM. In conclusion, 0.05% dietary MSM supplementation partially protected birds from oxidative stress but did not affect immune cell profiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)914-925
Number of pages12
JournalPoultry science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • MSM
  • broiler
  • oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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