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Poult Sci. 2007 Apr;86(4):673-83.

Developmental changes of plasma insulin, glucagon, insulin-like growth factors, thyroid hormones, and glucose concentrations in chick embryos and hatched chicks.

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Department of Poultry Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA.


Developmental hormonal changes in Cobb 500 chick embryos and hatched chicks were determined by measuring plasma insulin, glucagon, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, IGF-II, triiodothyronine, thyroxine, and glucose concentrations at different ages of embryogenesis and posthatch development. Plasma samples were obtained daily from 10 d of embryogenesis (10E) through 13 d posthatch and also at 17 and 21 d posthatch. A significant increase in plasma insulin was observed with increasing age from 10E to hatch. Plasma glucagon levels remained low until 17E, and then significantly increased approximately 3-fold at hatch, which corresponded with increasing plasma glucose levels during late embryo development. The plasma insulin to glucagon molar ratio of incubation from 14E to 17E ranged from 2 to 4, and was significantly higher than at any other time during incubation. These results indicate that insulin may be an important promoter of chick embryonic growth by the anabolic drive to promote protein deposition. Insulin and glucagon increased after hatch, which may be due to increased feed consumption and increased utilization of carbohydrates as the key energy source, compared with nutrients obtained through lipolysis and proteolysis in the embryos. Plasma triiodothyronine increased 4-fold from 18E to 20E, and thyroxine increased 3-fold from 16E to 19E. Insulin-like growth factor-I and IGF-II peaked at 14E. Insulin-like growth factor-I steadily increased above embryonic levels during the 3 wk of the posthatch period, whereas IGF-II levels steadily declined. These results suggest that IGF-II may be a more important functionary for chick embryonic development than IGF-I, and that IGF-I may be more important than IGF-II after hatch. The profile of metabolic hormones in the present study may help support an understanding of significant changes that occur in embryonic development and posthatch growth in chicks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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