Homocysteine remethylation in young broilers fed varying levels of methionine, choline, and betaine

P. B. Pillai, A. C. Fanatico, K. W. Beers, M. E. Blair, J. L. Emmert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Methionine is critical in amino acid nutrition for chickens, yet details of the flux of Met metabolites in the avian system are lacking. This study explored the interactions among dietary choline (CHO), betaine (BET), and sulfur amino acid levels on growth and hepatic homocysteine (HCY) remethylation. Graded levels (0, 0.07, 0.11, and 0.24%) of DL-Met were added to diets adequate in CHO and deficient in sulfur amino acids (0.26% digestible Met, 0.26% digestible Cys). Each Met level was tested alone or with the addition of CHO (0.25%) or BET (0.28%). Broilers were reared from 8 to 22 d in raised wire floor battery cages, and the 12 dietary treatments were fed to 3 replicate pens containing 5 birds per pen. Weight gain and feed efficiency were maximized (P < 0.05) with addition of 0.11% supplemental Met, whereas feed intake was maximized (P < 0.05) with addition of 0.07% supplemental Met. Overall, growth parameters were not affected (P > 0.05) by CHO or BET addition. Hepatic tissue primed by the different dietary treatments was subjected to a newly developed stable isotope methodology and HPLC-mass spectrometry to quantify the impact of diet on HCY remethylation. Dietary Met level did not (P > 0.05) affect HCY remethylation, but remethylation through the Met synthase pathway was increased (P < 0.05) by addition of CHO or BET to diets containing deficient or excess levels of Met. Minimal changes in hepatic HCY remethylation through the betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase pathway occurred in response to dietary changes; therefore, data failed to support previous suggestions that BHMT might have a regulatory role when diets containing deficient or excess Met levels are fed. In contrast to previous suppositions based on enzyme activity, under most dietary conditions, the quantity of HCY remethylated by Met synthase appeared to exceed that remethylated by the alternate betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-95
Number of pages6
JournalPoultry science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Broiler
  • Homocysteine
  • Methionine
  • Remethylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Homocysteine remethylation in young broilers fed varying levels of methionine, choline, and betaine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this