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J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2018 Apr;102(2):505-513. doi: 10.1111/jpn.12778. Epub 2017 Oct 6.

Effects of phyto-oestrogen quercetin on productive performance, hormones, reproductive organs and apoptotic genes in laying hens.

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Institute of Animal Nutrition, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China.


Quercetin, a polyphenolic flavonoid with diverse biological activities including anti-inflammatory and antiviral, inhibits lipid peroxidation, prevents oxidative injury and cell death. The purpose of the research was to investigate the effect of quercetin on productive performance, reproductive organs, hormones and apoptotic genes in laying hens between 37 and 45 weeks of age, because of the structure and oestrogenic activities similar to 17β-oestradiol. The trial was conducted using 240 Hessian laying hens (37 weeks old), housed in wire cages with two hens in each cage. These hens were randomly allotted to four treatments with six replicates, 10 hens in each replicate and fed with diets containing quercetin as 0, 0.2, 0.4 and 0.6 g/kg feed for 8 weeks. The results showed that dietary quercetin significantly increased (p < .05) the laying rate and was higher in group supplemented with 0.4 g/kg, and feed-egg ratio was decreased (p < .05) by quercetin. Dietary quercetin has no effect (p > .05) on average egg weight and average daily feed intake. Compared with control, secretion of hormones, oestradiol (E2 ), progesterone (P4), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), insulin-like growth factors-1 (IGF-1) and growth hormone (GH), was found to be significantly higher (p < .05) in quercetin-supplemented groups. Also ovary index, uterus index and oviduct index were not significantly influenced (p > .05) by quercetin, whereas magnum index, isthmus index, magnum length, isthmus length and follicle numbers were significantly increased (p < .05) with quercetin supplementation. Additionally, expression of apoptotic genes was significantly (p < .05) up-regulated or down-regulated by quercetin. These results indicated that quercetin improved productive performance, and its mechanism may be due to the oestrogen-like activities of quercetin.


gene expression; hormone; productive performance; quercetin; reproductive organs

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