Differential expression of iodothyronine deiodinase type 2 in growth plates of chickens divergently selected for incidence of tibial dyschondroplasia.
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Tibial dyschondroplasia (TD) is a genetic leg defect in broilers with a lesion of avascular, non-calcified cartilage below the growth plate of the proximal tibiatarsus. This disease is considered to result from the inability of chondrocytes to undergo terminal differentiation. Thyroid hormones are required for chondrocyte differentiation. The thyroid gland produces and secrets mostly L-thyroxine or T4 and T4 plays most of its biological activities through conversion to triiodothyronine or T3 in local tissues by iodothyronine deiodinases type 1 or type 2, which are tissue specific. In this study, no differences were found in the plasma concentrations of total T3 and T4 between two chicken lines divergently selected for the incidence of TD. Plasma T4 was higher than T3, especially in older chickens. Younger birds had much higher T3 than older birds, but there were no significant age differences in T4. The expression level of deiodinase type 2 in the growth plates of broilers with TD was one-eighth of those birds without the disease. The expression levels of deiodinase type 2 (DIO2) in commercial broilers without the disease were much higher than those with TD and lower than those without the disease in the susceptible and resistant lines, respectively. These results indicate that the inadequate expression of DIO2 in the growth plates contributes to the pathogenesis of TD in broilers and that TD is a tissue-specific hypothyroidism.