Publications by authors named "Hongchao Jiao"

39 Publications

Prolonged scotophase within a 24 hour light regime improves eggshell quality by enhancing calcium deposition in laying hens.

Poult Sci 2021 Jul 11;100(7):101098. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

College of Animal Science and Techonology, Shandong Key Lab for Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control, Taian, Shandong 271018, China. Electronic address:

Calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) transporters are responsible for their absorption and transport in small intestine and kidney, contributing to eggshell formation. The light-dark cycle is a primary cue in the reproduction of laying hen. In this study, we investigated the effect of different light-dark programs on eggshell quality and the expression of genes related to Ca and P transportation in laying hens. Seventy-two 56-week-old laying hens were randomly divided into two groups and reared at 16-h light and 8-h dark (control) or 9-h light and 15-h dark regime (long dark phase, LDP). The expressions of calcium transporter calbindin-D28k (CaBP-D28k), plasma membrane Ca ATPase 1b (PMCA1b), and phosphorus transporter NaPi-IIb (NPt2b) and NaPi-IIa (NPt2a) were measured in the small intestine, kidney, and eggshell gland. The results showed that feed intake (P < 0.001) and egg weight (P = 0.05) were decreased by LDP treatment. Compared with control, the eggshell hardness was increased (P = 0.011) by LDP treatment, but the eggshell thickness and the percentage of eggshell were not changed. The Ca and P contents in eggshell were increased by LDP treatment. During the scotophase, LDP-hens showed higher serum Ca (P = 0.0056) and P levels (P = 0.079) but lower alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity than that of control hens. In the duodenum, the relative higher expression of CaBP-D28k and PMCA1b in scotophase compared to photophase was masked by LDP treatment. The expression of CaBP-D28k and osteopontin (OPN) in the eggshell gland were increased by LDP treatment, compared to control hens. In the jejunum, the protein expression levels of CaBP-D28k and PMCA1b decreased during photophase in LDP-hens. The result indicates that the increased blood Ca and P concentration during scotophase by LPD treatment is beneficial to the deposition of Ca and P in the eggshell. The result offers an alternative strategy for managing laying hens with poor eggshell quality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psj.2021.101098DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8165574PMC
July 2021

Long-term effects of liquid swine manure land surface application in an apple orchard field on soil bacterial community and heavy metal contents in apple (Malus pumila Mill.).

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 May 3. Epub 2021 May 3.

Department of Animal Science and Technology, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, 271018, People's Republic of China.

This study investigated the impact of liquid swine manure (LSM) land surface application in an apple orchard on soil health and copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) in soil and apple. Three apple plots were selected, among which two for LSM application for 5 (AY5) and 11 (AY11) years with different application rates, a long-term inorganic fertilizer application plot as the control treatment (AY0). The soil and apple samples were collected for analysis of soil physicochemical properties, bacterial diversity and abundance, and the contents of Cu and Zn in soil and apple. Results showed that the LSM application significantly increased the concentration of soil nutrients with the highest in AY5, which has a high application rate of LSM. After 5 or 11 years applied, the content of total nitrogen (TN) in AY5 and AY11 increased by 125.2% and 96.7%, total phosphorus (TP) increased by 167.6% and 148.6%, and soil organic matter (SOM) increased by 180.7% and 120.6%, respectively. The AY5 treatment significantly lowered OTUs and decreased Shannon index trend with a negative correlation between soil organic matter and Shannon index. The six predominant bacterial phyla in different treatments were similar, but the LSM application significantly increased the abundance of Chloroflexi and Firmicutes. However, the abundance of Actinobacteria and Acidobacteria significantly decreased in AY5 as compared to control treatment, followed by a significant positive correlation between the abundance of Acidobacteria and soil pH. Besides, LSM application significantly increased the contents of soil Cu, Zn, and apple Zn. Overall, the results illustrated that appropriate application rate of LSM can effectively improve apple orchard soil quality and bacterial community structure, but it will increase the risk of heavy metal accumulation in soil and apples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-14181-1DOI Listing
May 2021

Dusk feeding in laying hens is shifted by light program via involvement of clock genes.

J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl) 2021 Mar 28. Epub 2021 Mar 28.

Department of Animal Science & Technology, Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control and Prevention, Shandong Agricultural University, Shandong, China.

Dusk feeding is practised probably to satisfy the energy requirement during night. However, little is known on the changes with clock gene expressions during this feeding behaviour. In our present study, the linkage of clock gene expressions and feeding behaviour in dusk feeding was investigated in laying hens under two lighting programs: the conventional lighting program (Control) with a light period from 05:00 AM to 21:00 PM and a dark period from 21:00 PM to 05:00 AM; or the shifted lighting program group (SLP) with a light period from 02:00 AM to 18:00 PM and a dark period from 18:00 PM to 02:00 AM. The gene expression-related appetite and circadian rhythm were investigated in hypothalamus and proventriculus at 1, 3 and 5 h before scotophase. The results demonstrated that dusk feeding was synchronously shifted with altered lighting program, dusk feeding was observed from 5 h before scotophase in both groups. The expressions of anorexigenic gene proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) were downregulated (p < 0.05) during dusk feeding and changed in pace with lighting program. The expressions of clock gene period 2 (Per2) and cryptochrome 1 (Cry1) in hypothalamus were downregulated (p < 0.05) during dusk feeding and shifted by lighting program. In the proventriculus, ghrelin expression was decreased (p < 0.05) during dusk feeding by lighting program. In conclusion, the expressions of clock genes Per2 and Cry1 are linked with the downregulated expressions of anorexigenic genes, POMC and CART, and in turn the augmented feed intake at dusk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jpn.13528DOI Listing
March 2021

Rule of UA on Cardiac Myocytes Uric Acid Differently Influence the Oxidative Damage Induced by Acute Exposure of High Level of Glucose in Chicken Cardiac Myocytes.

Front Vet Sci 2020 23;7:602419. Epub 2020 Dec 23.

College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai'an, China.

Uric acid (UA) is a potent scavenger of oxidants in mammalian and avian species. In humans, hyperglycemia with simultaneous hyperuricemia may exert additional damage to the cardiovascular system. Chickens naturally have hyperglycemia (10.1-11.0 mmol/L) and hyperuricemia (100-900 μmol/L), which makes them an interesting model. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of UA on the oxidative damage induced by acute exposure of high level of glucose in chicken cardiac myocytes. Cell viability and the concentrations of thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) were decreased by glucose treatment in a dose- and time-dependent manner. After acute exposure to high level of glucose (300 mM), a moderate level of UA (300 μM) increased cell viability and reduced TBARS and glutathione (GSH) content. Compared to the control or to independent high glucose (300 mM) or UA (1,200 μM) treatment, the concurrent treatment of high glucose and high UA significantly increased the TBARS, protein carbonyl contents, and ROS concentration, whereas it decreased the cell viability, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, and GSH content. In the presence of high glucose and UA, the nucleic protein expression of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) was decreased and the mRNA levels of the genes , and were downregulated. In conclusion, acute exposure of high level of glucose induced oxidative damage in the cardiac myocytes of chicken. The present result suggests that an adequate level of uric acid is helpful in alleviating the acute oxidative damage that is induced by high glucose, whereas the inhibition of the Nrf2 pathway by a high level of uric acid may render the cardiac myocytes more vulnerable to suffering from oxidative damage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.602419DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7785973PMC
December 2020

Mild heat stress changes the microbiota diversity in the respiratory tract and the cecum of layer-type pullets.

Poult Sci 2020 Dec 18;99(12):7015-7026. Epub 2020 Sep 18.

Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control and Prevention, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian City, Shandong Province 271018, China. Electronic address:

The present study aimed to research the effects of cyclic heat environment on the microbial diversity and structure of respiratory tract and cecum of chicken. A total of 360 layer-type pullets at 11 wk of age were subjected to different temperature treatments for 10 wk: constant 22°C; cyclic temperature 22°C to 24°C, 22°C to 26°C, 22°C to 28°C, 22°C to 30°C; the ambient temperature increased from 10:00, reached the set point within 1 h, and maintained until 18:00, thereafter the temperature was restored to 22°C; and the relative humidity was maintained at 60%. The result showed that feed intake of the chickens on ambient temperature 30°C group was significantly lower than that of the chickens on ambient temperature 24°C. The white blood cell, red blood cell, lymphocyte, hemoglobin, and pecked-cell volume content were highest at 24°C on 14, 16, and 18 wk. The ratio of CD3CD4/CD3CD8 T cells was lowest at 30°C. Meanwhile, the abundance of cecum bacteria in chickens at 30°C was lower than that at 24°C. Cyclic heat environment temperature treatment did not significantly affect the concentration of secretory immunoglobulin A in chicken bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) levels during 10 wk of trial. The diversity index analysis showed that the effect of 24°C on the cecum flora of chickens was optimal. Abundance of Firmicutes bacteria in the lung flora and cecum flora was lower at 30°C than at 24°C group. Similarly, the microorganism, Brevibacillus in the BALF was also significantly lower at 24°C. In conclusion, cyclic 24°C treatment was beneficial for the feed intake, blood routine indexes, microflora structure of the cecum, and respiratory tract in laying pullets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psj.2020.09.024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7704960PMC
December 2020

Encapsulated crystalline lysine and DL-methionine have higher efficiency than the crystalline form in broilers.

Poult Sci 2020 Dec 19;99(12):6914-6924. Epub 2020 Sep 19.

Department of Animal Science, Shandong Agricultural University, Shandong Key Lab for Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control and Prevention, Taian City, Shandong Province, 271018, China. Electronic address:

Crystalline amino acids (AAs) exhibit high nutritional values when supplemented AA-deficient diets. However, the AAs in crystalline form in the diet are absorbed quickly than protein-bound AAs, which may take an effect on AA utilization efficiency. In this study, 2 experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of encapsulated lysine-HCl (Lys) and DL-methionine (DL-Met) on the growth performance of broiler chickens. In experiment 1, a total of 432 one-day-old male Arbor Acres broilers were subjected to 3 dietary treatments (27 pens; 16 birds per pen) for 42 d. The control group was basal diets supplemented with crystalline Lys and DL-Met, and treatment groups had basal diets supplemented with encapsulated Lys and DL-Met at the levels of 80% and 60% of control diets (80CLM, 60CLM), respectively. The growth performance, intestinal development, and transcription of AA transporters were determined. In experiment 2, 24 broiler chickens were subjected to the same treatments as in experiment 1. The plasma concentrations of free AAs were measured 0, 2, 4, and 6 h after feeding. The results showed that 80CLM treatment had no significant influence on production performance, carcass characteristics, and plasma free AAs content during the experiment compared with the control group (P > 0.05). In addition, the 80CLM group moderately enhanced gut morphology development and increased AAs' absorption capacity. However, broilers fed the 60CLM diet had lower production performance and breast muscle weight than the control group (P < 0.05), but increased villi height and BAT mRNA expression level (P < 0.05). At h 4 after feeding, the 60CLM broilers exhibited higher concentration of Ala, Cys, and total dispensable AAs than the control group (P < 0.05). In conclusion, the result suggests that the supplemental levels of crystalline Lys and DL-Met can be effectively saved approximately for 20% by using the encapsulated form in broilers, with improvements to AAs utilization efficiency, while posing no detrimental effects on production performance. Encapsulated Lys and DL-Met would have greater potential for application when replacing crystalline AAs in broiler chickens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psj.2020.09.023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7704974PMC
December 2020

Dietary L-citrulline supplementation modulates nitric oxide synthesis and anti-oxidant status of laying hens during summer season.

J Anim Sci Biotechnol 2020 12;11:103. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Department of Animal Science, College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control, Shandong Agricultural University, No. 61 Daizong Street, Tai'an, 271018 Shandong China.

Background: L-citrulline (L-Cit), a non-protein amino acid, has been implicated in several physiological functions including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and hypothermic roles, however, there is a paucity of information with regards to its potential in poultry production.

Methods: This study was designed to investigate the effects of dietary L-Cit supplementation on the production performance, nitric oxide production, and antioxidant status of laying hens during summer period. Hy-Line Brown laying hens ( = 288, 34 weeks old) were allotted to four treatment, 6 replicates of 12 chickens each. Dietary treatments of control (basal diets), 0.25%, 0.50% and 1.00% L-Cit supplementation were fed to chickens for eight (8) weeks. Production performance, free amino acid profiles, nitric oxide production, and antioxidant properties were measured. Blood samples were collected at the 4 and 8 weeks of the experiment.

Results: Air temperature monitoring indicated an average daily minimum and maximum temperatures of 25.02 °C and 31.01 °C respectively. Dietary supplementation with L-Cit did not influence ( > 0.05) the production performance, and rectal temperature of laying hens. Egg shape index was increased ( < 0.05) with increasing levels of L-Cit. Serum-free content of arginine, citrulline, ornithine, tryptophan, histidine, GABA, and cystathionine were elevated, but taurine declined with L-Cit diets. Plasma nitric oxide (NO) concentration was highest at 1% L-Cit. Likewise, nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity for total NOS (tNOS) and inducible NOS (iNOS) were upregulated with increasing L-Cit levels, although, tNOS was not affected at the 4 week. Anti-oxidant enzymes including catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were increased with L-Cit supplementation, however, SOD activity was unchanged at 4 week, while total anti-oxidant capacity increased at the 8 week. L-Cit supplementation attenuated the extent of lipid peroxidation, and also inhibited glutathione peroxidase activity.

Conclusion: Dietary L-Cit supplementation modulated systemic arginine metabolism, nitric oxide synthesis, antioxidant defense system, and increased the egg shape index of laying hens during the summer season. 1% L-Cit supplementation proved most effective in potentiating these effects and may be adopted for feed formulation strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40104-020-00507-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7549236PMC
October 2020

Use of encapsulated L-lysine-HCl and DL-methionine improves postprandial amino acid balance in laying hens.

J Anim Sci 2020 Oct;98(10)

Shandong Key Lab for Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Animal Science, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, Shandong, China.

The supplementation of dietary limiting amino acids (AA) with crystalline AA makes the use of low-protein diets an option in poultry production. The differing absorption rates of crystalline and protein-bound AA may lead to temporally imbalanced AA in the postabsorptive period. In this study, two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of encapsulated L-lysine-HCl (L-Lys-HCl) and DL-methionine (DL-Met) on the laying performance of hens. In exp. 1, a total of 135 forty-seven-wk-old Hy-Line Brown hens were subjected to three dietary treatments for 8 wk: basal diet supplemented with 0.14% L-Lys-HCl and 0.17% DL-Met to satisfy the NRC (1994) total Lys and Met recommendation (control) and basal diet supplemented with encapsulated L-Lys-HCl and DL-Met at the levels of 60% (60CLM, 0.084% L-Lys-HCl and 0.102% DL-Met) or 80% of control (80CLM, 0.112% L-Lys-HCl and 0.136% DL-Met), respectively. In exp. 2, 24 fifty-five-wk-old Hy-Line Brown hens were individually reared in cages and subjected to the same treatments as in exp. 1. The plasma concentrations of free AA and nitrogen metabolites were measured 2, 4, and 6 h after fed. The results showed that dietary AA treatment had no significant influence on body weight (BW), feed intake, laying rate, egg weight, egg mass, or feed efficiency. The expression levels of AA transporters CAT-1, y+LAT1, b0,+AT, B0AT, rBAT, EAAT3, and PepT1 in the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum were not influenced (P > 0.05) by dietary treatment. There was an interaction of dietary AA treatment and time (P < 0.05) and the 80CLM hens exhibited higher concentrations of Lys (P < 0.05) than the controls at 2-h time point. In contrast, plasma Met concentration was not influenced (P > 0.05), while Cys was reduced in the 60CLM hens at every time point. The 80CLM hens had higher taurine concentrations than those receiving the control diet at every postprandial time point. In conclusion, these findings demonstrate that by using encapsulated form, the supplemental levels of synthetic L-Lys-HCl and DL-Met can be effectively reduced by approximately 20% with no negative effect on laying performance. The result suggests that encapsulated Lys and Met may ameliorate the postabsorptive AA balance and contribute to the reduced dietary AA supplemental levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jas/skaa315DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7759752PMC
October 2020

5-Hydroxytryptophan Suppresses the Abdominal Fat Deposit and Is Beneficial to the Intestinal Immune Function in Broilers.

Front Physiol 2020 12;11:655. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control and Prevention, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai'an, China.

Background: Serotonin (5-HT), a monoaminergic neurotransmitter, involves in the regulation of many physiological functions. In the present study, the effects of 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), the precursor of 5-HT, on lipid metabolism and intestinal immune function in broiler chickens were investigated in chickens.

Methods: Two hundred broilers were divided randomly into two groups and fed separately with a corn-soybean basal diet (CD) or the basal diet supplemented with 0.2% 5-HTP.

Results: The results showed that 5-HTP reduced ( < 0.05) feed intake and the abdominal fat pad weight. 5-HTP treatment tended to upregulate the mRNA level of adiponectin receptor 1 (ADP1R) and ADP2R in abdominal fat but had no significant influence on their protein levels ( > 0.05). In 5-HTP-chickens, lipopolysaccharide exposure decreased secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) concentrations in serum and the duodenal contents. Expression of mRNA encoding interleukin (IL), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) decreased after 5-HTP treatment; however, LPS increased expression significantly in 5-HTP-treated chickens compared with CD chickens. In 5-HTP-chickens, the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) were reduced, but the phosphorylation of ribosomal p70S6 kinase (p70S6K) was increased in the duodenum.

Conclusion: In summary, the result suggests that dietary 5-HTP supplementation reduces accumulation of abdominal fat and is beneficial to intestinal immune function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2020.00655DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7304481PMC
June 2020

High frequency vaccination-induced immune stress reduces bone strength with the involvement of activated osteoclastogenesis in layer pullets.

Poult Sci 2020 Feb 24;99(2):734-743. Epub 2020 Jan 24.

Department of Animal Science, Shandong Agricultural University, Shandong Key Lab for Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control, Taian, Shandong, P. R. China 271018. Electronic address:

In poultry production, vaccination is an effective measure to protect chickens from diseases. Vaccination, however, is a stressor that may induce stress responses that interfere with the growth and development of chickens. The interaction between the skeletal and immune systems on bone quality has gained more attention. In the present study, the influence of high frequency vaccinations on the bone development of layer pullets was investigated. Thirty 35-day-old SPF White Leghorn layer pullets were obtained and randomly subjected to the following treatments: vaccinated against Newcastle disease (ND) with LoSota vaccine once at 35-day-old (V1, control); 4 times at 35, 49, 63, and 77 d of age (V4); and 7 times at 35, 42, 49, 56, 63, 70, and 77 d of age (V7). The body weight and organ index of the spleen, thymus, and tibia were recorded. The antibody titer and serum and the tibia calcium and phosphorus concentrations were measured. The transcription levels of the IL-6, IL-17, TNF-α, receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL), and osteoprotegerin (OPG) genes were determined in spleen, thymus, and the tibia. The results showed that V7 decreased body weight and increased the ND antibody titer, compared to V1-chickens. The expression levels of IL-6, IL-17, and TNF-α were upregulated in spleen, thymus, and the tibia of V7 chickens. In the tibia, RANKL was upregulated, while OPG was downregulated by V7 treatment. The results indicate that high frequency vaccination induces immune stress and impairs bone development. The results suggest that the augmented cytokine expression in immune organs and the tibia is associated with activation of the OPG/RANKL pathway, which, in turn, enhances osteoclastogenesis. The appropriate frequency of vaccination should support optimal bone development and full immunoprotection in layer pullets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psj.2019.12.023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7587667PMC
February 2020

Endogenous CSE/Hydrogen Sulfide System Regulates the Effects of Glucocorticoids and Insulin on Muscle Protein Synthesis.

Oxid Med Cell Longev 2019 7;2019:9752698. Epub 2019 Apr 7.

Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control and Prevention, Shandong Agricultural University, 61 Daizong Street, Taian City, Shandong Province 271018, China.

Aims: Insulin and glucocorticoids play crucial roles in skeletal muscle protein turnover. Fast-twitch glycolytic fibres are more susceptible to atrophy than slow-twitch oxidative fibres. Based on accumulating evidence, hydrogen sulfide (HS) is a physiological mediator of this process. The regulatory effect of HS on protein synthesis in fast-twitch fibres was evaluated.

Results: A NaHS (sodium hydrosulfide) injection simultaneously increased the diameter of (i.e., fast-twitch glycolytic fibres) and activated the mammalian target of the rapamycin (mTOR)/p70S6 kinase (p70S6K) pathway. Dexamethasone (DEX) inhibited protein synthesis, downregulated mTOR and p70S6K phosphorylation, and suppressed the expression of the cystathionine -lyase (CSE) protein in myoblasts. The precursor of HS, L-cysteine, completely abolished the inhibitory effects of DEX. The CSE inhibitor DL-propargylglycine (PAG) completely abrogated the effects of RU486 on blocking the suppressive effects of DEX. The HS donor NaHS increased the HS concentrations and abrogated the inhibitory effects of DEX on protein synthesis. Insulin increased protein synthesis and upregulated CSE expression. However, PAG abrogated the stimulatory effects of insulin on protein synthesis and the activity of the mTOR/p70S6K pathway.

Innovation: These results demonstrated that CSE/HS regulated protein synthesis in fast-twitch muscle fibres, and glucocorticoids and insulin regulated protein synthesis in an endogenous CSE/HS system-dependent manner.

Conclusions: The results from the present study suggest that the endogenous CSE/HS system regulates fast-twitch glycolytic muscle degeneration and regeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2019/9752698DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6476024PMC
December 2019

Ghrelin serves as a signal of energy utilization and is involved in maintaining energy homeostasis in broilers.

Gen Comp Endocrinol 2019 02 30;272:76-82. Epub 2018 Nov 30.

College of Animal Science and Technology, Shandong Key Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control and Prevention, Shandong Agricultural University, No. 61 Daizong Street, Taian 271018, PR China. Electronic address:

Ghrelin, one of the most important appetite regulating peptides, is involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis. The anorexia effect of ghrelin in chickens is contrary to that of ghrelin in mammals. In the present study, the effects of feeding status and dietary energy level on plasma total ghrelin levels and expression were studied in broilers. The gene expression of ghrelin and its receptor GHS-R1a were measured in the hypothalamus, proventriculus, duodenum, liver, and abdominal fat pad. The results showed that ghrelin mRNA and GHS-R1a mRNA are moderately expressed in liver and abdominal fat. Ghrelin secretion was increased by fasting and refeeding. The gene expression of ghrelin and GHS-R1a in the hypothalamus, proventriculus, liver, and abdominal fat pad were changed by feeding status and dietary energy level. The results suggest that ghrelin is a signal of energy utilization in chickens. The abundant expression of ghrelin and GHS-R1a in liver and abdominal fat pad may be associated with energy balance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2018.11.017DOI Listing
February 2019

The development of antioxidant system in the intestinal tract of broiler chickens.

Poult Sci 2019 Feb;98(2):664-678

Shandong Agricultural University, Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control and Prevention, No. 61 Daizong Street, Taian City, Shandong Province, 271018, China.

The gastrointestinal tract is the site for the uptake of nutrients from the external environment. We hypothesized that the antioxidant system in the intestinal tract has a vital protective role from the oxidative damage induced by oxidants in foods. The aim of this study was to investigate the development of the antioxidant system in the intestine of chickens. The activity and gene expression of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and the content of the non-enzymatic substance glutathione (GSH) were measured in the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum of chickens at 1, 3, 7, 11, 14, 21, 35, and 42 d of age. The results showed that the small intestinal tract had relatively higher SOD activity and GSH concentration and lower CAT and GSH-Px activities, compared with those of other visceral organs. CAT and GSH-Px activities and GSH concentration showed a decreasing trend with age, whereas SOD activity was not significantly influenced by age. The gene expression of SOD1, SOD2, and GSH-Px7 showed a dramatic decrease from 3 d of age. The results indicated that SOD and GSH were highly expressed in the first week of age after hatching. To conclude, the results suggest that SOD and GSH play a vital protective role in the small intestine after hatching, which contributes to rapid development of the intestine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps/pey415DOI Listing
February 2019

Dexamethasone and insulin stimulate ghrelin secretion of broilers in a different way.

Gen Comp Endocrinol 2018 11 2;268:14-21. Epub 2018 Aug 2.

College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Shandong Agricultural University, No. 61 Daizong Street, Tai'an 271018, PR China. Electronic address:

Ghrelin is one of the most important appetite regulating peptides, involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis. The role of ghrelin on the appetite and fat metabolism in chickens is different from that of ghrelin in mammals. Glucocorticoids and insulin are important hormones and work differently in energy regulation of body. In this study, the effects of dexamethasone (DEX, 2.0 mg/kg BW), subcutaneous insulin injection (40 µg/kg BW), and glucose load on ghrelin secretion and expression were determined in broilers. DEX treatment increased circulating ghrelin concentration in broiler fed with either a low-energy diet (11.05 MJ/kg of metabolizable energy) or a high-energy diet (14.44 MJ/kg of metabolizable energy). The expression levels of ghrelin were increased while both ghrelin and its receptor GHS-R1a expression levels were stimulated by DEX. A single subcutaneous insulin injection (40 µg/kg BW) or oral glucose infusion (2 g/kg BW) rise circulating ghrelin level. Ghrelin expression in the proventriculus was increased by insulin treatment but unchanged by glucose load. DEX had no detectable influence on ghrelin and GHS-R1a expression in the hypohtalamus, whereas insulin suppressed their expression. In conclusion, both insulin and glucocorticoid stimulate ghrelin secretion in chickens, in contrast to mammals. Glucocorticoids evoke peripheral ghrelin/GHS-R1a system while insulin increases peripheral ghrelin expression and suppress the activation of central ghrelin/GHS-R1a system. The result suggests that ghrelin involved in the modulating network of energy homeostasis in concert with glucocorticoids and insulin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2018.07.009DOI Listing
November 2018

Effects of Dietary Phosphorus Level on the Expression of Calcium and Phosphorus Transporters in Laying Hens.

Front Physiol 2018 25;9:627. Epub 2018 May 25.

Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control and Prevention, College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai'an, China.

The transport of calcium and phosphorus is mainly relied on their corresponding transporters. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of dietary phosphorus level on the expression of the relevant calcium and phosphorus transporters in laying hens, which has a large amount of calcium and phosphorus input from intestine and output from kidney and eggshell gland. Thirty-six 25-week-old Hy-line Brown hens were fed diets with different available phosphorus level (AP, 0.15, 0.41, and 0.82%), respectively. The expression of phosphorus transporters type IIa and type IIb Na/Pi co-transporter (NPt2a, NPt2b), calcium transporter calbindin-D28k (CaBP-D28k), and plasma membrane Ca ATPase 1b (PMCA1b) were measured in small intestine, kidney, and eggshell gland by RT-PCR and western blot. The results showed that serum calcitriol and PTH concentrations were not affected ( > 0.05) by dietary AP levels. Duodenum had the highest mRNA and protein expression level of NPt2b than jejunum and ileum ( < 0.05). The protein expression abundance of CaBP-D28k and PMCA1b were higher in duodenum than that in jejunum and ileum ( < 0.05). 0.15%-AP diet upregulated the ileal mRNA expression level of NPt2b and renal mRNA expression level of NPt2a ( < 0.05), while downregulated the protein abundance of NPt2b and CaBP-D28k mRNA expression in shell gland ( < 0.05). In conclusion, both the Ca and P transporters were highly expressed in duodenum. Low AP diet decreased protein expression abundance of NPt2b in duodenum while upregulated the mRNA expression level of NPt2a in kidney. The result suggests that both the phosphorus absorption in proximal intestine and its reabsorption in kidney are involved in the adaption to low AP diet.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.00627DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5992381PMC
May 2018

L-Arginine Enhances Protein Synthesis by Phosphorylating mTOR (Thr 2446) in a Nitric Oxide-Dependent Manner in C2C12 Cells.

Oxid Med Cell Longev 2018 26;2018:7569127. Epub 2018 Apr 26.

Department of Animal Science, Shandong Key Lab for Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai'an, Shandong, China.

Muscle atrophy may arise from many factors such as inactivity, malnutrition, and inflammation. In the present study, we investigated the stimulatory effect of nitric oxide (NO) on muscle protein synthesis. Primarily, C2C12 cells were supplied with extra L-arginine (L-Arg) in the culture media. L-Arg supplementation increased the activity of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), the rate of protein synthesis, and the phosphorylation of mTOR (Thr 2446) and p70S6K (Thr 389). L-NAME, an NOS inhibitor, decreased NO concentrations within cells and abolished the stimulatory effect of L-Arg on protein synthesis and the phosphorylation of mTOR and p70S6K. In contrast, SNP (sodium nitroprusside), an NO donor, increased NO concentrations, enhanced protein synthesis, and upregulated mTOR and p70S6K phosphorylation, regardless of L-NAME treatment. Blocking mTOR with rapamycin abolished the stimulatory effect of both L-Arg and SNP on protein synthesis and p70S6K phosphorylation. These results indicate that L-Arg stimulates protein synthesis via the activation of the mTOR (Thr 2446)/p70S6K signaling pathway in an NO-dependent manner.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2018/7569127DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5944195PMC
October 2018

Allicin Alleviates Reticuloendotheliosis Virus-Induced Immunosuppression ERK/Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Pathway in Specific Pathogen-Free Chickens.

Front Immunol 2017 22;8:1856. Epub 2017 Dec 22.

Department of Animal Science, College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Shandong Agricultural University, Shandong Key Lab for Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control, Tai'an, China.

Reticuloendotheliosis virus (REV), a gammaretrovirus in the family, causes an immunosuppressive, oncogenic, and runting-stunting syndrome in multiple avian hosts. Allicin, the main effective component of garlic, has a broad spectrum of pharmacological properties. The hypothesis that allicin could relieve REV-induced immune dysfunction was investigated and in the present study. The results showed that dietary allicin supplementation ameliorated REV-induced dysplasia and immune dysfunction in REV-infected chickens. Compared with the control groups, REV infection promoted the expression of inflammatory cytokines including γ, and α, whereas, allicin reversed these changes induced by REV infection. The decreased levels of α, β, and were observed in REV-infected chickens, which were significantly improved by allicin. Allicin suppressed the REV-induced high expression of toll-like receptors (TLRs) as well as and the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and the nuclear factor kappa B p65. REV stimulated the phosphorylation of JNK, ERK, and p38, the downstream key signaling molecules of MAPK pathway, while allicin retarded the augmented phosphorylation level induced by REV infection. The decreased phosphorylation level of ERK was associated with REV replication, suggesting that ERK signaling is involved in REV replication, and allicin can alleviate the REV-induced immune dysfunction by inhibiting the activation of ERK. In addition, REV infection induced oxidative damage in thymus and spleen, whereas allicin treatment significantly decreased the oxidative stress induced by REV infection, suggesting that the antioxidant effect of allicin should be at least partially responsible for the harmful effect of REV infection. In conclusion, the findings suggest that allicin alleviates the inflammation and oxidative damage caused by REV infection and exerts the potential anti-REV effect by blocking the ERK/MAPK pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.01856DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5744041PMC
December 2017

Lipopolysaccharide impairs mucin secretion and stimulated mucosal immune stress response in respiratory tract of neonatal chicks.

Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol 2018 Jan 5;204:71-78. Epub 2017 Dec 5.

Department of Animal Science, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, Shandong 271018, China. Electronic address:

The chicken immune system is immature at the time of hatching. The development of the respiratory immune system after hatching is vital to young chicks. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of LPS on respiratory mucin and IgA production in chicks. In this study, we selected 7days old AA broilers of similar weigh randomly; LPS atomized at 1mg/kg body weigh dose in the confined space of 1 cubic meter. The chickens exposed for 2h. Then collect samples after 4h and 8h respectively. Compared to control, LPS inhibited mucus production in BALF, caused a rising trend of the concentration of IgA in serum and BALF, and increased the protein expression of IgA in lung tissue. And LPS treat induced a decreasing trend of the mRNA expression of IL-6 and TGF-β and significantly decreased the gene expression of TGF-α and EGFR after 4h. After 8h the LPS suppressed the TGF-β mRNA expression significantly. In addition, LPS treatment stimulated airway epithelial cilia sparse after 4h. Therefore, results proved: LPS can impair mucin expression and stimulated mucosal immune stress reaction of respiratory tract. This study suggested that LPS involved in respiratory tract mucosal immune response in chicks by regulating gene expression of cytokines and epithelial growth factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpc.2017.11.011DOI Listing
January 2018

A high-caloric diet rich in soy oil alleviates oxidative damage of skeletal muscles induced by dexamethasone in chickens.

Redox Rep 2018 Dec 20;23(1):68-82. Epub 2017 Nov 20.

a Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control and Prevention , Shandong Agricultural University , Taian , Shandong , People's Republic of China.

Objective Glucocorticoids (GCs) can induce oxidative damage in skeletal muscles. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate a high caloric (HC) diet rich in soy oil would change the oxidative stress induced by a GC. Methods The effect of dexamethasone (DEX) and HC diet on oxidative stress in plasma, skeletal muscles (M. pectoralis major, PM; M. biceps femoris, BF), and mitochondria were determined. The biomarkers of oxidative damage and antioxidative enzyme activity were determined. The fatty acid profile of muscles and the activities of complex I and II in mitochondria were measured. Results The results showed that DEX increased the concentrations of oxidative damage markers in plasma, muscles, and mitochondria. The activity of complex I was significantly suppressed by DEX. DEX-chickens had higher proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids and lower proportions of monounsaturated fatty acids in the PM. A HC diet decreased the levels of oxidative damage biomarkers in plasma, muscles, and mitochondria. The interaction between DEX and diet suppressed the activities of complex I and II in HC-chickens. Discussion Oxidative damage in skeletal muscles and mitochondria was the result of GC-induced suppression of the activity of mitochondrial complex I. A HC diet improved the antioxidative capacity and reduced the oxidative damage induced by the GC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13510002.2017.1405494DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6748688PMC
December 2018

Unexpected effect of urate on hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative damage in embryonic chicken cardiac cells.

Free Radic Res 2017 Jul-Aug;51(7-8):693-707. Epub 2017 Aug 18.

a College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine , Shandong Agricultural University , Tai'an , Shandong , PR China.

Uric acid (UA) is a potent scavenger of oxidants in most mammalian and avian species. The aim of this study was to obtain more comprehensive information regarding the relationship between different concentrations of UA and oxidative balance in chicken cardiac cells. First, oxidative damage parameters were measured in chicken cardiac cells treated with different concentrations of UA. UA concentrations within the normal physiological range had no effect, while treatment with a high level of UA, i.e. 1200 μM, increased the malondialdehyde (MDA) and protein carbonyl contents, decreased the superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activities, and had no effect on glutathione (GSH) in cardiac muscle cells. In addition, the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) pathway was stimulated in cells treated with 1200 μM UA. Next, the role of UA in protecting cells from oxidative damage was investigated in hydrogen peroxide (HO)-damaged chicken cardiac cells. Treatment with UA within the normal physiological range reduced the increased MDA and protein carbonyl contents and SOD enzymatic activity induced by HO exposure to some extent and inhibited reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, presumably as a result of the Nrf2 pathway activation in HO-damaged cells. By contrast, the MDA and protein carbonyl contents were increased, SOD enzymatic activity was depressed, and the Nrf2 pathway was further down-regulated in HO-damaged cells treated with 1200 μM UA. In conclusion, the results indicated that physiological UA concentration partially alleviated oxidative stress in chicken cardiac muscle cells treated with HO. However, supraphysiological UA concentrations promoted oxidative damages directly in primary cultured chicken cardiac muscle cells and aggravated oxidative stress in HO-damaged cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10715762.2017.1362106DOI Listing
May 2018

Glucocorticoids induced high fat diet preference via activating hypothalamic AMPK signaling in chicks.

Gen Comp Endocrinol 2017 08 2;249:40-47. Epub 2017 Mar 2.

Department of Animal Science, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, Shandong 271018, PR China. Electronic address:

Glucocorticoids (GCs) stimulate appetite, contributing to enhanced fat deposition. Our present study was conducted to determine whether GCs could evoke an appetite specifically for fat-rich diets in chicks. Chicks were subjected to a subcutaneous injection of corticosterone (CORT, 2mg/kg body weight/day) or corn oil (control), and food preference was tested. The results showed that CORT-chicks consumed more high-fat diet (HFD) compared with controls. In HFD-fed chicks, hypothalamic phosphorylated AMP-activated protein kinase α (AMPKα) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) mRNA levels were increased by CORT treatment. Activating AMPK with 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-β-d-ribofuranoside, an AMPK activator, via intracerebroventricular injection further enhanced the CORT-induced HFD consumption and concurrently up-regulated NPY mRNA levels and phosphorylated AMPKα and acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase levels. The dramatic increase in HFD consumption and upregulation of NPY mRNA levels and phospho-AMPKα levels induced by peripheral CORT injection was not altered by intracerebroventricular infusion of compound C (4-16μg), an AMPK inhibitor. In conclusion, CORT challenge caused a HFD preference by enhancing the AMPK pathway in the hypothalamus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2017.02.018DOI Listing
August 2017

Glucocorticoids Enhance Muscle Proteolysis through a Myostatin-Dependent Pathway at the Early Stage.

PLoS One 2016 26;11(5):e0156225. Epub 2016 May 26.

Department of Animal Science, Shandong Agricultural University, Shandong Key Lab for Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control, Taian, Shandong, 271018, P. R. China.

Myostatin, a member of the TGF-β superfamily of secreted proteins, is expressed primarily in skeletal muscle. It negatively regulates muscle mass and is associated with glucocorticoid-induced muscle atrophy. However, it remains unclear whether myostatin is involved in glucocorticoid-induced muscle protein turnover. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of myostatin in protein metabolism during dexamethasone (DEX) treatment. Protein synthesis rates and the expression of the genes for myostatin, ubiquitin-proteasome atrogin-1, MuRF1, FoxO1/3a and mTOR/p70S6K were determined. The results show that DEX decreased (P<0.05) protein synthesis rates while increasing the abundance of myostatin. DEX increased (P<0.05) the level of phospho-FoxO1/3a (Thr 24/32) and the expression of MuRF1. In contrast, DEX treatment had no detectable effect on atrogin-1 protein levels (P>0.05). The phosphorylation levels of mTOR and p70S6K were decreased by DEX treatment (P<0.05). Follistatin treatment inhibited the DEX-induced increase in myostatin (P<0.05) and the activation of phosphor-FoxO1/3a (Thr 24/32) (P< 0.05) and MuRF1 (P<0.05). Follistatin treatment had no influence on the protein synthesis rate or on the phosphorylation levels of mTOR (Ser 2448) and p70S6K (Thr 389) (P> 0.05). In conclusion, the present study suggests that the myostatin signalling pathway is associated with glucocorticoid-induced muscle protein catabolism at the beginning of exposure. Myostatin is not a main pathway associated with the suppression of muscle protein synthesis by glucocorticoids.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0156225PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882021PMC
August 2017

Effect of dexamethasone on hypothalamic expression of appetite-related genes in chickens under different diet and feeding conditions.

J Anim Sci Biotechnol 2016 12;7:23. Epub 2016 Apr 12.

Department of Animal Science, Shandong Agricultural University, Shandong Key Lab for Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control, Taian, Shandong 271018 China.

Background: Glucocorticoids (GCs) are involved in the control of appetite in birds and mammals. The effect of GCs on feed intake in birds depends on their dietary energy level. But the regulation mechanism of GCs on appetite is still unclear in chickens facing to different energy level. An experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of dexamethasone (DEX) on hypothalamic expression of appetite-related peptides in chickens fed high/low fat diet and under fasting/feeding condition.

Results: An interaction between DEX injection and dietary energy level was found on hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) gene expression in fasted chickens (P < 0.05). The chickens, given a DEX injection and a low fat diet treatment, had the highest CRH mRNA levels than any of the fasted chickens given treatments (P < 0.05). Under fasting conditions, the DEX treatment significantly increased hypothalamic neuropeptide Y (NPY) and GC receptors mRNA levels (P < 0.05). Under re-feeding conditions, DEX treatment significantly decreased hypothalamic expression levels of NPY and agouti-related peptide (AgRP) but significantly increased the level of hypothalamic CRH expression (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: A regulatory network formed by NPY, AgRP and CRH is associated with the appetite-control by GCs. The result suggests that the regulation of GCs on orexigenic neuropeptides expression is dependent at least partially on dietary energy level and feeding state.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40104-016-0084-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4828879PMC
April 2016

Peripheral Insulin Doesn't Alter Appetite of Broiler Chicks.

Asian-Australas J Anim Sci 2016 Sep 5;29(9):1294-9. Epub 2016 Jan 5.

Department of Animal Science, Shandong Agricultural University, Shandong Key Lab for Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control, Taian, Shandong 271018, China.

An experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of peripheral insulin treatment on appetite in chicks. Six-d-age chicks with ad libitum feeding or fasting for 3 h before injection received a subcutaneous injection of 0, 1, 3, 5, 10, or 20 IU of insulin or vehicle (saline). The results showed peripheral insulin treatment (1 to 20 IU) did not alter significantly the feed intake in chicks under either ad libitum feeding or fasting conditions within 4 h (p>0.05). Compared with the control, plasma glucose concentration was significantly decreased after insulin treatment of 3, 5, 10, and 20 IU for 4 h in chicks with ad libitum feeding (p<0.05). In fasted chicks, 10 and 20 IU insulin treatments significantly decreased the plasma glucose level for 4 h (p<0.05). Peripheral insulin treatment of 10 IU for 2 or 4 h did not significantly affect the hypothalamic genes expression of neuropeptide Y, proopiomelanocortin, corticotropin-releasing factor and insulin receptors (p>0.05). All results suggest peripheral administration of insulin has no effect on appetite in chicks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5713/ajas.15.0674DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003990PMC
September 2016

Effect of Zinc on Appetite Regulatory Peptides in the Hypothalamus of Salmonella-Challenged Broiler Chickens.

Biol Trace Elem Res 2016 Jul 5;172(1):228-233. Epub 2015 Dec 5.

Department of Animal Science, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, Shandong, 271018, China.

The effects of dietary Zinc (Zn) supplementation on the gene expression of appetite regulatory peptides were investigated in Salmonella-infected broiler chickens. Broiler chickens (Arbor Acres, 1 day old) were allocated randomly into 24 pens of 10 birds. The chickens from 12 pens were fed with basal diet and the other with basal diet supplemented with Zn (ZnSO4·H2O, 120 mg/kg). At 5 days of age, the chickens were divided into 4 treatments with 6 pens: basal diet; basal diet and Salmonella challenge; Zn-supplemented diet; Zn-supplemented diet and Salmonella challenge. At 42 days of age, the hypothalamus from 6 chickens per treatment (1 chicken per pen) was individually collected for gene expression determination. Results showed that dietary supplementation of Zn reduced the gene expression of hypothalamic ghrelin and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) (P < 0.05). Salmonella infection upregulated the messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of hypothalamic neuropeptide Y (NPY) and TNF-α. Zn supplementation and Salmonella inoculation were significantly correlated with the mRNA levels of toll-like receptor 2-1 (P < 0.05). However, neither dietary Zn supplementation nor Salmonella inoculation had significant effect on hypothalamic agouti-related protein, cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript, and pro-opiomelanocortin. This study shows that dietary Zn supplementation promoted orexigenic appetite regulatory peptides and reduced the expression of the inflammatory cytokine TNF-α in the hypothalamus of Salmonella-challenged broilers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12011-015-0582-2DOI Listing
July 2016

Vitamin A Deficiency Impairs Mucin Expression and Suppresses the Mucosal Immune Function of the Respiratory Tract in Chicks.

PLoS One 2015 30;10(9):e0139131. Epub 2015 Sep 30.

Department of Animal Science, Shandong Agricultural University, Shandong Key Lab for Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control, Taian, Shandong, 271018, China.

The chicken immune system is immature at the time of hatching. The development of the respiratory immune system after hatching is vital to young chicks. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of dietary vitamin A supplement levels on respiratory mucin and IgA production in chicks. In this study, 120 one-day-old broiler chicks were randomly divided into 4 groups consisting of three replicates of 10 broilers and subjected to dietary vitamin A supplement levels of 0, 1,500, 6,000, or 12,000 IU/kg for seven days. Compared with control birds, vitamin A supplementation significantly increased the mucin and IgA levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) as well as the IgA level in serum. In the lungs, vitamin A supplementation downregulated TNF-α and EGFR mRNA expression. The TGF-β and MUC5AC mRNA expression levels were upregulated by vitamin A supplementation at a dose of 6,000 IU/kg, and the IL-13 mRNA expression level was increased at the 12,000 IU/kg supplement level. Vitamin A deficiency (control) significantly decreased the mRNA expression levels of MUC2, IgA, EGFR, IL-13 and TGF-β in trachea tissue. Histological section analysis revealed that the number of goblet cells in the tracheal epithelium was less in the 0 and 12,000 IU/kg vitamin A supplement groups than in the other groups. In conclusion, vitamin A deficiency suppressed the immunity of the airway by decreasing the IgA and mucin concentrations in neonatal chicks. This study suggested that a suitable level of vitamin A is essential for the secretion of IgA and mucin in the respiratory tract by regulating the gene expression of cytokines and epithelial growth factors.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0139131PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4589363PMC
June 2016

Glucocorticoids retard skeletal muscle development and myoblast protein synthesis through a mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR)-signaling pathway in broilers (Gallus gallus domesticus).

Stress 2015 15;18(6):686-98. Epub 2015 Sep 15.

a Department of Animal Science , Shandong Agricultural University , Taian , Shandong , PR China.

Glucocorticoids exert a well-known catabolic protein action on skeletal muscle. The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway acts as a central regulator of protein metabolism. Whether glucocorticoids regulate protein synthesis through the mTOR pathway in skeletal muscle of chickens remains unknown. This study was performed to characterize the effect of glucocorticoids on the mTOR pathway in skeletal muscle development in chickens, and on protein synthesis in cultured embryonic myoblasts. Male 29-d-old chickens were given a dexamethasone injection (2 mg/kg) twice per day for 4 d (n = 16). Chicken embryonic myoblasts were exposed to dexamethasone for 24 h (100 µmol/L, n = 4 cultures). The interaction between dexamethasone and leucine was also investigated. ANOVA and Duncan's multiple test were used to analyze the effects of the dexamethasone and leucine treatments. The results showed that dexamethasone decreased body weight gain, body weight, and feed efficiency. Protein synthesis was inhibited by in vitro dexamethasone exposure. Phosphorylation of mTOR and ribosomal protein S6 protein kinase (p70S6K) were inhibited by dexamethasone, suggesting the mTOR pathway may be involved in dexamethasone-regulated muscle protein synthesis. Phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) was not altered in vitro but was reduced in vivo by dexamethasone. These results imply that the mTOR and AMPK pathways are both involved in retarding muscle development and protein synthesis by glucocorticoids, but the mTOR pathway is a critical point linking glucocorticoid and protein synthesis. Leucine, at least partially, inhibited the effects of dexamethasone on protein synthesis via the mTOR pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/10253890.2015.1083551DOI Listing
June 2016

Erratum to: Effects of heat stress on the gene expression of nutrient transporters in the jejunum of broiler chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus).

Int J Biometeorol 2015 Jun;59(6):771

Department of Animal Science and Technology, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, 271018, Shandong, China.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00484-015-0996-8DOI Listing
June 2015

Effects of corticosterone and dietary energy on immune function of broiler chickens.

PLoS One 2015 24;10(3):e0119750. Epub 2015 Mar 24.

Department of Animal Science, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, Shandong 271018, China.

An experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary energy level on the performance and immune function of stressed broiler chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus). A total of 96 three-day-old male broiler chickens (Ross × Ross) were divided into two groups. One group received a high energy (HE) diet and the other group received a low energy (LE) diet for 7 days. At 5 days of age, the chickens from each group were further divided into two sub-groups and received one of the following two treatments for 3 days: (1) subcutaneous injection of corticosterone, twice per day (CORT group; 2 mg of CORT/kg BW in corn oil) and (2) subcutaneous injection of corn oil, twice per day (Control/Sham treatment group). At 10 days of age, samples of blood, duodenum, jejunum, and ileum were obtained. Compared with the other three groups, the LE group treated with CORT had the lowest average daily gain (ADG) and the poorest feed conversion ratio (FCR, P < 0.05). Furthermore, CORT treatment decreased the relative weight (RW) of the bursa independent of the dietary energy level, but it decreased the RW of the thymus only in the chickens fed the LE diet. By contrast, CORT administration decreased the RW of the spleen only in the chickens fed the HE diet (P < 0.05). The plasma total protein, albumin, tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin 2 and immunoglobulin G (IgG) levels were affected by the CORT treatment (P < 0.05); however, these factors were not significantly affected by the dietary energy level. Toll-like receptor-5 mRNA level was down-regulated by CORT injection in the duodenum and ileum (P < 0.05) and showed a trend of down-regulation in the jejunum (P=0.0846). The present study showed that CORT treatment induced immunosuppressive effects on the innate immune system of broiler chickens, which were ameliorated by consumption of higher dietary energy.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0119750PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4372532PMC
February 2016

A central role for the mammalian target of rapamycin in LPS-induced anorexia in mice.

J Endocrinol 2015 Jan 27;224(1):37-47. Epub 2014 Oct 27.

Shandong Key Lab for Animal Biotechnology and Disease ControlDepartment of Animal Science, Shandong Agricultural University, No. 61, Daizong Street, Taian, Shandong 271018, People's Republic of China

Bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), also known as endotoxin, induces profound anorexia. However, the LPS-provoked pro-inflammatory signaling cascades and the neural mechanisms underlying the development of anorexia are not clear. Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a key regulator of metabolism, cell growth, and protein synthesis. This study aimed to determine whether the mTOR pathway is involved in LPS-induced anorexia. Effects of LPS on hypothalamic gene/protein expression in mice were measured by RT-PCR or western blotting analysis. To determine whether inhibition of mTOR signaling could attenuate LPS-induced anorexia, we administered an i.c.v. injection of rapamycin, an mTOR inhibitor, on LPS-treated male mice. In this study, we showed that LPS stimulates the mTOR signaling pathway through the enhanced phosphorylation of mTOR(Ser2448) and p70S6K(Thr389). We also showed that LPS administration increased the phosphorylation of FOXO1(Ser256), the p65 subunit of nuclear factor kappa B (P<0.05), and FOXO1/3a(Thr) (24) (/) (32) (P<0.01). Blocking the mTOR pathway significantly attenuated the LPS-induced anorexia by decreasing the phosphorylation of p70S6K(Thr389), FOXO1(Ser256), and FOXO1/3a(Thr) (24) (/) (32). These results suggest promising approaches for the prevention and treatment of LPS-induced anorexia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/JOE-14-0523DOI Listing
January 2015
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