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J Lipid Res. 2013 Jul;54(7):1860-76. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M036301. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

Corticosterone regulation of ovarian follicular development is dependent on the energy status of laying hens.

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  • 1Department of Animal Science, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, Shandong 271018, People's Republic of China.


Glucocorticoids participate in the arousal of stress responses and trigger physiological adjustments that shift energy away from reproduction toward survival. Ovarian follicular development in avians is accompanied by the supply of yolk precursors, which are mainly synthesized in the liver. Therefore, we hypothesized energy status and hepatic lipogenesis are involved in the induction of reproductive disorders by glucocorticoids in laying hens. The results show that corticosterone decreased the laying performance by suppressing follicular development in energy-deficit state, rather than in energy-sufficient state. In corticosterone-treated hens, the suppressed follicular development was associated with the reduced availability of yolk precursor, indicated by the plasma concentration of VLDL and vitellogenin and the decreased proportion of yolk-targeted VLDL (VLDLy). Corticosterone decreased the expression of apolipoprotein B and apolipoprotein VLDL-II in the liver. A drop in VLDL receptor content and an increase in the expression of tight junction proteins occludin and claudin1 were also observed in hierarchical follicles. The results suggest corticosterone-suppressed follicular development is energy dependent. The decreased apolipoprotein synthesis and VLDLy secretion by liver are responsible for the decreased availability of circulating yolk precursor, and the upregulation of occludin and claudin expression further prevents yolk deposition into oocytes.


apolipoprotein synthesis; energy state; glucocorticoids; ovarian development; tight junction proteins

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