Carnosine and its methylated derivative anserine are dipeptides present in high levels in chicken muscles. They are antioxidants and putative neurotransmitters. If administration of β-alanine, one of the constituents of carnosine, could increase levels of these dipeptides in the brain and muscles, it may improve brain function and increase commercial values of the chicken meat. In the present study, we investigated whether orally administered β-alanine could increase these dipeptide levels in the brain, Musculus pectoralis superficialis, and plasma in broiler chicks. Broilers (2 days old) were given oral doses of β-alanine (0.176, 0.88, 4.4 and 22 mmol/kg) twice a day for 5 days. Carnosine levels were dose-dependently increased in the brain, Musculus pectoralis superficialis, and plasma while no influence of anserine was detected. These results suggest that supplemental β-alanine could be effective in increasing carnosine levels in the brain and muscle of broiler chicks.
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