Antioxidant prevention of Heinz body formation and oxidative injury in cats

Ana S. Hill, Sharron O'Neill, Quinton Rogers, Mary M Christopher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective - To determine the effectiveness of 3 antioxidants in preventing Heinz body anemia in cats. Design - Prospective study. Animals - 44 specific-pathogen-free healthy cats. Procedure - Cats were housed individually, divided randomly into 4 groups, and given the following oral-ly every 12 hours: empty gelcaps (control cats), N-acetylcysteine (NAC, 100 mg/kg of body weight), vitamin E (d,l-α-tocopherol; 400 IU), or ascorbate (250 mg). After 2 weeks, Heinz bodies were induced by dietary onion powder (OP; 1 % or 3% of dry matter) or propylene glycol (PG, 8% wt/vol in drinking water) for an additional 3 weeks. Intake of treated water or food was recorded daily. Body weight, PCV, Heinz body and reticulocyte percentages, reduced glutathione concentration, and total antioxidant status were measured twice weekly in all cats. Results - Heinz body percentage and degree of anemia did not differ significantly among cats receiving antioxidants and control cats except in cats that ingested water containing PG, in which antioxidant supplementation was associated with a decrease in water intake. Of cats that were fed a diet that contained OP, cats that received NAC had significantly higher reduced glutathione concentrations, compared with other cats in the experiment. Total antioxidant status did not consistently correlate with antioxidant supplementation or type of oxidant administered (ie, OP or PG). Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Although the effect of antioxidant supplementation on Heinz body anemia in cats was minimal, antioxidants may have subclinical biochemical effects such as GSH sparing that may be important against milder forms of oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-374
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Veterinary Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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