Mei Matsuzaki, Shusei Mizushima, Hideo Dohra, Tomohiro Sasanami
Because of the presence of sperm storage tubules (SSTs) in the utero-vaginal junction (UVJ) in the oviduct, once ejaculated sperm enter the female reproductive tract, they can survive for a prolonged period in domestic birds; however, the specific mechanisms involved in sperm maintenance within the SST remain to be elucidated. In this study, we showed that transferrin (TF) and albumin (ALB) are expressed in SSTs. When UVJ extracts were subjected to size-exclusion column chromatography, we obtained fractions that extend sperm longevity in vitro. LC-MS/MS analysis of the two major proteins in the fractions identified these proteins as TF and ALB. Immunohistochemical analysis using specific antisera against TF and ALB indicated that both proteins were localized not only in the SSTs, but also in the surface epithelium of the UVJ. When the ejaculated sperm were incubated with either purified TF or ALB, sperm viability increased after 24 h. These results indicated that oviductal TF and ALB are involved in the process of sperm storage in SSTs and may open a new approach for technological improvement to prolong sperm longevity in vitro.
Fuminori Kawabata, Bapon Dey, Yuta Yoshida, Shotaro Nishimura, Shoji Tabata
Canola meal (CM) is a commonly used feedstuff; however, it is known to be bitter, and chickens have a low preference for it. The purpose of this study was to seek clarity regarding the taste quality of CM and find methods to increase the preference for CM by chickens. We examined whether CM activates the bitter taste receptors in chickens, whether chickens show aversive responses to CM, and whether an antagonist for bitter taste receptors inhibits the bitterness of CM. Using the Ca2+ imaging technique, we showed that CM contains bitter compounds, which activate the bitter taste receptors in chickens. Further, we showed that 6-methoxyflavanone (6-meth), an antagonist for the bitter taste receptors in chickens, inhibits the activation of these receptors by CM extract. Although chickens showed a low preference for the solution of the CM extract, their preference was improved by adding 6-meth in behavioral tests. These results suggest that the preference for CM could be improved by inhibiting the bitter taste receptors in chickens.
Toshiyuki Ishii, Koichi Shibata, Shinichi Kai, Keiichi Noguchi, Amin Omar Hendawy, Shinobu Fujimura, Kan Sato
Here, we investigated whether the optimal threonine (Thr) to lysine (Lys) ratio in high Lys diet improves the growth performance of modern broiler chickens at finisher period and determined the possible mechanism underlying improvement in the growth performance of chickens fed with high Lys or Lys + Thr diet using metabolome analyses. Eighteen 21-day-old chickens housed in individual cages were randomly divided into three groups of six chickens fed with different diets as follows: control diet, high Lys diet (150% Lys content of National Research Council requirement), and high Lys + Thr diet (0.68 of Thr/Lys in high Lys diet). Body weight gain (BWG) increased in chickens receiving high Lys diet as compared with those fed with the control diet (P<0.05); no significant difference was observed in BWG of chickens from high Lys + Thr and high Lys groups. Feed conversion ratio (FCR) was lower in chickens fed with high Lys or high Lys + Thr diet than in those on the control diet. Serotonin concentration increased in the plasma of chickens fed with high Lys diet as compared to those fed with other diets. A negative correlation was observed between plasma serotonin concentration and FCR. These results provide the first evidence on the use of high Lys in broiler diets to reduce FCR during finisher period, which may be associated with change in plasma serotonin concentration. These findings suggest that high Lys content in finisher diet, but not high Thr + Lys diet, may affect the peripheral serotonergic metabolism and improve FCR. Thus, plasma serotonin may serve as a biomarker of FCR in broilers.
Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is a key regulator of muscle development and metabolism in chickens. Recently, we have demonstrated that intracerebroventricular administration of IGF-1 significantly decreased food intake in broiler chicks. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the IGF-1-induced anorexia and the anorexigenic effect of IGF-1 in different strains of commercial chicks have not been investigated. Neuropeptide Y (NPY, a hypothalamic orexigenic neuropeptide), agouti-related protein (AgRP, a hypothalamic orexigenic neuropeptide), and proopiomelanocortin (POMC, the precursor of hypothalamic anorexigenic neuropeptides) play important roles in the regulation of food intake in both mammals and chickens. Evidence shows that several cell signaling pathways in the hypothalamus are involved in regulating the feeding behavior of mammals. In the present study, we first investigated the effects of IGF-1 on the expression of appetite-regulating neuropeptides and phosphorylation of signaling molecules in the hypothalamus of broiler chicks. Intracerebroventricular administration of IGF-1 significantly increased the mRNA levels of POMC, whereas the mRNA levels of NPY and AgRP were not significantly altered. IGF-1 also significantly induced the phosphorylation of v-Akt murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog 1 (AKT) in the hypothalamus of chicks, but did not influence the phosphorylation of forkhead box O1, S6 protein, AMP-activated protein kinase, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2. We also compared the effect of IGF-1 on food intake in broiler chicks (a hyperphagic strain of chickens) and layer chicks. Results demonstrated that the threshold of IGF-1-induced anorexia in broiler chicks was higher than that in layer chicks. Our observations suggest that hypothalamic POMC and AKT may be involved in the IGF-1-induced anorexigenic pathway and that high threshold of IGF-1-induced anorexia in broiler chicks might be one of the causes of hyperphagia in broiler chicks. Overall, it appears that IGF-1 plays important roles in the central regulation of feeding behavior in chicks.
Bitterness is one of the five basic tastes, and sensitivity to bitterness is important in that it enables animals to avoid harmful and toxic substances. In humans, taste sensitivity decreases with age, although the extent of loss varies depending on the taste quality. In chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus), baby chicks have been found to be more sensitive to salt and sour taste qualities than adults. In this study, therefore, we investigated the growth-associated changes in bitter taste sensitivity in chicks. We examined the behavioral perceptions toward the bitter compounds chloramphenicol and andrographolide in chicks at three different growth stages. Then, we measured the relative expression of the functional bitter taste receptors in the chick palate. In behavioral drinking tests, the 0–1-week-old chicks consumed a significantly lower amount of bitter solutions than water, whereas the 8–9-week-old chicks showed lower avoidance of the bitter solutions than the 0–1-week-old and 4–5-week-old chicks. Real-time PCR assay showed that the 0–1-week-old chicks had significantly higher expression of one of the functional bitter taste receptors in the palate than that in the older chicks. These results suggest that baby chicks are more sensitive to bitterness than older chicks. These findings may be useful in the production of new feedstuff for chicks according to their growth stages.
Heat stress hampers egg production and lowers fertility in layers. This study investigated global protein abundance in the small yellow follicles (SYFs, 6–8 mm diameter) of a broiler-type strain of Taiwan country chickens (TCCs) under acute heat stress. Twelve 30-week-old TCC hens were allocated to a control group maintained at 25°C, and to three acute heat-stressed groups subjected to 38°C for 2 h without recovery, with 2-h recovery, or with 6-h recovery. Two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis analysis identified 119 significantly differentially expressed proteins after acute heat exposure. Gene ontology analysis revealed that most of these proteins are involved in molecular binding (34%), catalytic activity (23%), and structural molecule activity (11%), and participate in metabolic processes (20%), cellular processes (20%), and cellular component organization or biogenesis (11%). Proteins associated with stress response and survival (HSP25, HSP47, HSP70, HSC70, HSPA9), cytoskeleton remodeling, mitochondrial metabolic process of ATP production, antioxidative defense (peroxiredoxin-6), cargo lipid export and delivery (vitellogenin, apolipoprotein B and A1), and toxin/metabolite clearance and delivery (albumin) were upregulated after acute heat stress in the SYFs of TCCs. No overt cell death and atresia were observed in SYFs after acute heat stress. Collectively, these responses may represent a protective mechanism to maintain follicle cell integrity and survival, thereby ensuring a sufficient pool of SYFs for selection into the ovulation hierarchy for successful egg production.
The texture of jidori-niku (Japanese indigenous native chicken meat) was characterized and compared with those of Chunky broiler chicken meat. Experiment 1: A qualitative sensory test using jidori-niku and broiler breast (pectoralis major, PM), thigh (biceps femoris, BF) and sasami (deep pectoral) meat cooked to the end-point temperature 75°C by steam-heating was administered to a trained sensory panel (n＝16-17) for the selection of descriptive texture items from ISO5492 texture words. By the correspondence analysis, the characteristics of ‘chewiness,’ ‘hardness’ and ‘springiness’ were found to be different between jidori-niku and broiler: they likely characterize jidori-niku texture. Experiment 2: Texture characteristics in the three above-mentioned muscles in jidori-niku and broiler were compared quantitatively using the three above-mentioned texture items by the trained sensory panel. Sensory chewiness and hardness were the highest in the broiler PM and second highest in the jidori-niku BF, whereas sensory springiness was the highest in the jidori-niku BF. These results suggest that jidori-niku-like texture was characterized as a springy texture as compared to broiler meat.
Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the usefulness of urinary creatinine levels as a criterion for the estimation of protein and amino acid requirements in poultry. Here we studied the effects of dietary precursor levels of creatinine, methionine and arginine, on urinary creatinine excretion in experiments. Both experiments used 15 Chunky broilers chicks that were 8 days old. The chicks were assigned to three dietary groups, with five chicks each, and were fed an experimental diet for 7 days. The experimental diets mainly consisted of corn and soybean meal, and contained deficient, adequate, or excessive methionine and arginine levels in experiments 1 and 2, respectively. Excreta were collected for the last 3 days of the feeding trial, and chicks were terminated by dislocation of the neck at the end of the feeding trial to collect their livers. Creatinine concentration in the excreta and hepatic L-arginine-glycine amidinotransferase (AGAT) activities were determined.
Urinary creatinine levels increased with increasing both dietary methionine and arginine levels from deficient to adequate recommended by Japanese feeding standard (P<0.05), and then remained constant in experiments 1 and 2, respectively. The hepatic AGAT activity decreased when both dietary creatinine precursors levels were increased from deficient to adequate levels (p<0.05), and then remained constant.
These results suggested that creatinine excretion was changed with both increasing dietary methionine and arginine, dose-dependently.