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Metabolomics biomarkers of sexual development in broiler breeders

2021 CPRF
Profiling the plasma metabolome provides a new perspective for studying the metabolic aspects of sexual maturity in broiler breeder hens, a better understanding of its biological mechanisms, and provides potential biomarkers for predicting sexual development. The objectives of the current study were to evaluate the effect of maturity (pullet vs. hen) and onset of lay (early vs. late) on plasma metabolome dynamics to identify potential biomarkers that predict sexual development. A total of 36 pullets were used, 30 of which were randomly assigned to one of 10 unique growth trajectories, and 6 were not feed restricted. The growth trajectories were designed using a 3-phase Gompertz growth model with 10 levels of BW gain in the prepubertal and pubertal growth phases ranging from the breeder-recommended target BW to 22.5% higher, in 2.5% increments. The BW trajectories were applied using a precision feeding system, which collected BW and feed intake data for each individual bird. Birds were classified post hoc based on age at first egg (AFE), and 12 pullets were chosen from the lower and upper AFE extremes (early and late onset of lay) for repeated plasma metabolomic assays (collected at 18, 20, 22, 24, and 26 wk of age) using a direct-injection liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and steroid assays. Univariate analysis identified 87 differential metabolites between the early and late onset of lay groups at 24 wk of age and 104 differential metabolites between the pullet and hen groups. We identified 15 potential biomarkers to predict pullet to hen transition by analyzing receiver operating characteristic curve, mainly consisting of carnitine and choline metabolites. Differential metabolites during the pullet to hen transition were mainly associated with lipid, energy, and amino acid metabolism pathways. At 24 wk of age, the main pathways involved in differentiation of the early- and late-onset of lay groups were related to lipid and amino acid metabolism, which could be involved in biosynthesis of egg yolk precursors in the liver. In the current study, increasing prepubertal and pubertal BW gains by more than 15% of the breeder-recommended target BW triggered fat metabolism and yolk precursor synthesis, which consequently advanced sexual maturity. In conclusion, this study indicated that metabolic transition during the onset of lay in broiler breeders is accompanied by certain metabolic signatures that can be used to predict the metabolic status linked to the bird’s maturity.
Tags :
biomarkers,broiler breeders,sexual maturation
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Research Associate

University of Alberta

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