Obesity-associated cardiac pathogenesis in broiler breeder hens: Development of metabolic cardiomyopathy. Academic Article uri icon


  • Feed intake is typically restricted (R) in broiler hens to avoid obesity and improve egg production and livability. To determine whether improved heart health contributes to improved livability, fully adult 45-week-old R hens were allowed to consume feed to appetite (ad libitum; AL) up to 10 wk (70 d). Mortality, contractile functions, and morphology at 70 d, and measurements of cardiac hypertrophic remodeling at 7 d and 21 d were made and compared between R and AL hens. Outcomes for cardiac electrophysiology and mortality, reported separately, found increased mortality in AL hens in association with cardiac pathological hypertrophy and contractile dysfunction. The present study aimed to delineate metabolic cardiomyopathies underlying the etiology of obesity-associated cardiac pathology. Metabolic measurements were made in hens continued on R rations or assigned to AL feeding after 7 d and 21 days. AL feeding increased plasma insulin, glucose, and non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) concentrations by 21 d (P <0.05). Metabolic cardiomyopathy in AL-hens was confirmed by cardiac triacylglycerol (TG) and ceramide accumulation consistent with up-regulation of related enzyme gene expressions, and by increased indices of oxidation stress (P <0.05). In contrast to R hens, cardiac pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) activity and glucose transporter (GLUT) gene expressions increased progressively while carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 (CPT-1) transcript levels in AL hens declined from 7 d to 21 d (P <0.05), reflecting a shift from an oxidative to a more glycolytic metabolism, a typical metabolic derangement associated with cardiac hypertrophic remodeling. Cardiac pathogenesis in AL hens was further indicated by increased leukocyte infiltrates, interleukin-1 (IL-1) and IL-6 production, cellular apoptosis, interstitial fibrosis, and expression of the heart failure marker myosin heavy chain (MHC-; cardiac muscle beta) (P <0.05). Results support the conclusion that diabetic conditions, cardiac inflammation and lipotoxic metabolic derangements act as pathological cues to trigger pathogenic changes along cardiac hypertrophy in AL hens.

published proceedings

  • Poult Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Chen, C. Y., Huang, Y. F., Ko, Y. J., Liu, Y. J., Chen, Y. H., Walzem, R. L., & Chen, S. E.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Chen, CY||Huang, YF||Ko, YJ||Liu, YJ||Chen, YH||Walzem, RL||Chen, SE

publication date

  • July 2017