Feed Intake Alters Immune Cell Functions and Ovarian Infiltration in Broiler Hens: Implications for Reproductive Performance1
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Leukocytes are known to participate in ovarian activities in several species, but there is a surprising lack of information for the common chicken. Broiler hens consuming feed ad libitum (AL) exhibit a number of ovarian irregularities, but leukocyte functions are unstudied. In contrast to feed-restricted (R) hens, AL feeding for 7 wk significantly reduced egg production and clutch length while increasing pause length and atretic follicle numbers (P < 0.05). Granulosa cells from F1 follicles of AL hens contained less progesterone, and follicle walls were thicker with loose fibrous morphology and had less collagenase-3-like gelatinolytic activity but more IL-1beta (P < 0.05) production, suggestive of slower maturation in ovulatory process and inflamed necrosis. Interestingly, while highly infiltrated with immune cells, particularly heterophils, IL-1beta, MMP-22-like, and gelatinase A activities were reduced in AL hen peripheral heterophils and monocytes (P < 0.05); however, AL monocytes showed an increase in phagocytosis rate (P < 0.05). Generation of reactive oxygen intermediates was also suppressed in AL heterophils but increased in AL monocytes (P < 0.05). In contrast to leukocyte-free control, both AL and R heterophils and monocytes suppressed progesterone production and increased cell death in a dose-dependent manner when coincubated with granulosa cells at different ratios (P < 0.05). AL monocytes suppressed progesterone production more, but AL heterophils were less proapoptotic when compared to their R counterparts (P < 0.05). Alterations of cellular ceramide content (P < 0.05) corresponded to the discrepancy between heterophil and monocyte functionality. In conclusion, leukocyte dysfunction contributes to impaired ovarian activities of overfed broiler hens.
author list (cited authors)
Liu, Z., Xie, Y., Chang, C., Su, C., Chen, Y., Huang, S., Walzem, R. L., & Chen, S.