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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Lesions of the pericardium and their significance in the aetiology of heart failure in broiler chickens.

The present study focuses on lesions of the pericardium commonly observed in fast growing broilers. These lesions are examined in the context of electrophysiological and functional changes associated with cardiac performance and patho-physiology in broilers succumbing to acute or chronic heart failure. Typical lesions involving the pericardium in fast growing broiler chickens included: (1) excessive pericardial effusion, (2) locally extensive or focal adhesions between parietal and visceral components of the pericardium, (3) fibrous deposits on visceral pericardium, and (4) thickened pericardium. Echocardiographic evidence indicated that severe pericardial effusion and/or adhesions may have a restrictive effect on heart pump function, where both diastolic and systolic function of the heart may be affected. Electrocardiographic data showed a strong trend indicating that pericardial adhesions may be associated with ventricular arrhythmia and increased risk of sudden death in fast growing broilers. Relatively high levels of matrix metalloproteinase MMP-2 activity have been found in pericardial effusions from affected chickens, suggesting a possible involvement of this enzyme in the aetiology of pericardial lesions. The present results indicate that pericardial lesions may be associated with biochemical, morphological, electrophysiological, and functional changes occurring in the hearts of broilers succumbing to acute or chronic heart failure and ascites.[1]


  1. Lesions of the pericardium and their significance in the aetiology of heart failure in broiler chickens. Olkowski, A.A., Wojnarowicz, C., Rathgeber, B.M., Abbott, J.A., Classen, H.L. Res. Vet. Sci. (2003) [Pubmed]
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