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Poult Sci. 1987 Apr;66(4):752-6.

Thyroxine-induced molting and gonadal function of laying hens.


Twenty laying hens, 238 days of age, were divided into four groups which received daily intramuscular injections of L-thyroxine (T4) (0, 20, 100, or 500 micrograms/kg body weight per day) for 4 weeks. There was no change in body weight or egg production rate of the control (0 microgram T4) or of 20 and 100-micrograms T4 groups over time. Body weight and egg production of the 500 micrograms T4 group decreased markedly and molting started 10 days after T4 injection. Circulating iodothyronine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), and reverse triiodothyronine (rT3) of the 500-micrograms T4 group increased markedly (30 to 150 times those of the control group) whereas serum luteinizing hormone and progesterone declined after one week and estradiol after two weeks. We concluded that a large dose of T4 (500 micrograms T4/kg, body weight per day) induced an increase in circulating iodothyronine levels, decreased secretion of gonadotropin and sex steroid hormones, and induced molting.

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