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Br Poult Sci. 2004 Aug;45(4):463-70.

Comparative assessment of bone among wild-type, restricted ovulator and out-of-production hens.

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Department of Poultry Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


1. The aim of this study was to assess bone characteristics in restricted ovulator (RO) hens. These hens generally are unable to ovulate due to a point mutation in the oocyte VLDL receptor gene whose protein product mediates the uptake of yolk precursors. Because these hens do not have the cyclic calcium (Ca) metabolism associated with egg formation, they could be a useful model for studying bone metabolism. 2. RO hens had greater humerus, femur and tibia ash concentrations than wild-type (WT) and out-of-production (OP) hens. Bone mineral content and density obtained with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) were highly correlated with the results of conventional bone assays. 3. Gross and histological examination of the femurs confirmed the presence of extremely dense medullary bone deposition in the RO hens. However, the composition of non-collagenous protein extracts of medullary bone was similar for the two genotypes. 4. Analysis of medullary bone extracts for glycosaminoglycans (GAG) confirmed the presence of large amounts of keratan sulphate (KS) in the matrix of medullary bone. 5. Plasma Ca, total GAG and KS concentrations of RO hens were markedly higher than WT and OP hens. The changes in plasma calcium and keratan sulphate are probably a reflection of elevated Ca-binding yolk precursor molecules and intensive medullary bone formation in response to increased plasma oestrogen observed by others in RO hens.

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