Effects of ephedrine and its combination with caffeine on body composition and blood attributes of fat-tailed Mehraban lambs

Document Type : Full paper (Original article)


Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran


The effect of ephedrine at 0 (E0C0, n = 10), 8 (E8C0, n = 10) and 10 (E10C0, n = 10) mg per kg metabolic body weight or mixture of ephedrine/caffeine, at doses of 8 mg ephedrine/80 mg caffeine (E8C80, n = 10), or 10 mg ephedrine/100 mg caffeine (E10C100, n = 7), per kg metabolic body weight on body composition of feedlot Mehraban ram lambs (8-month-old) was studied. The lambs were fed for 95 days with a fattening ration ad lib., and ephedrine and ephedrine/caffeine, dissolved in distilled water, were drenched daily. The control sheep (E0C0) were drenched with distilled water only. Ephedrine/caffeine mixture caused a significant decrease in weight and daily gain. Dressing percentage was not affected by treatment, but carcass depreciation (shrinkage) was significantly reduced in E10C100 treatment (1.3% vs. 2.0 in control lambs). The mixture significantly increased the crude protein (in dry matter) but decreased dry matter and fat contents of the carcass meat. Internal fat (absolute values and as a percentage of slaughter weight) was significantly higher in the control sheep as compared with other groups. Serum glucose concentration was significantly lower in the control than in other groups. Serum cholesterol levels increased in groups receiving the ephedrine (E8C0 and E10C0) compared with the control, but caffeine returned their values to the control levels.Total serum protein level increased slightly but significantly in E8C0 and E10C100 groups, and serum total lipid and triacylglycerol levels did not change significantly. The results showed that oral administration of ephedrine/caffeine altered the body composition of Mehraban fat-tailed rams, and that feeding of 10 mg ephedrine and 100 mg caffeine per kg metabolic body weight (E10C100) was most effective in changing the body composition.