Fatty Liver and Kidney Syndrome in Chickens as an Animal Model for Reye’s Syndrome

Paula Awrich, Gordon E. Madge, Barry Wolf*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Fatty liver and kidney syndrome (FLKS), a naturally occurring but experimentally reproducible disease in chickens, has several clinical, pathological, and biochemical features in common with Reye’s syndrome. Because of this, it has been suggested that FLKS may serve as an animal model of Reye’s syndrome. We have examined, therefore, various parameters characteristic of Reye’s syndrome in chickens affected with FLKS to further delineate the similarities and differences between the two disorders. Plasma glucose concentrations were significantly lower in chickens affected with FLKS which may be caused by the significantly reduced activity of pyruvate carboxylase in all FLKS-affected animals. The activity of propionyl CoA carboxylase was low in only the most severely affected chickens, and β-methylcrotonyl CoA carboxylase showed no difference when compared with controls. This may be due to variable sensitivities of the three carboxylases to marginal biotin deficiency which occurs with FLKS. Plasma ammonia concentrations and activities of glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase and glutamic pyruvic transaminase, however, were not elevated in the affected birds. Histological changes in the liver and kidney were noted in affected chickens, but these changes were not identical with those observed in Reye’s syndrome. Although the mechanisms of nitrogen elimination in fowl differ from those in humans, failure to demonstrate hyperammonemia, elevated serum transaminase activities, or similar histological changes in tissues of affected birds indicates that FLKS is not an appropriate model for the study of Reye’s syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-692
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1983


  • Animal models
  • Encephalopathy
  • Fatty liver and kidney syndrome
  • Reye’s syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Gastroenterology

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