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Type: Journal article
Title: Evaluation of fatty acid metabolism and innate immunity interactions between commercial broiler, F1 layer × broiler cross and commercial layer strains selected for different growth potentials
Author: Willson, N.
Forder, R.
Tearle, R.
Nattrass, G.
Hughes, R.
Hynd, P.
Citation: Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, 2017; 8(1):70-1-70-11
Publisher: BioMed Central
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 1674-9782
Statement of
Nicky-Lee Willson, Rebecca E.A. Forder, Rick G. Tearle, Greg S. Nattrass, Robert J. Hughes, and Philip I. Hynd
Abstract: Background: The broiler industry has undergone intense genetic selection over the past 50 yr. resulting in improvements for growth and feed efficiency, however, significant variation remains for performance and growth traits. Production improvements have been coupled with unfavourable metabolic consequences, including immunological trade-offs for growth, and excess fat deposition. To determine whether interactions between fatty acid (FA) metabolism and innate immunity may be associated with performance variations commonly seen within commercial broiler flocks, total carcass lipid %, carcass and blood FA composition, as well as genes involved with FA metabolism, immunity and cellular stress were investigated in male birds of a broiler strain, layer strain and F1 layer × broiler cross at d 14 post hatch. Heterophil: lymphocyte ratios, relative organ weights and bodyweight data were also compared. Results: Broiler bodyweight (n = 12) was four times that of layers (n = 12) by d 14 and had significantly higher carcass fat percentage compared to the cross (n = 6; P = 0.002) and layers (P = 0.017) which were not significantly different from each other (P = 0.523). The carcass and whole blood FA analysis revealed differences in the FA composition between the three groups indicating altered FA metabolism, despite all being raised on the same diet. Genes associated with FA synthesis and β-oxidation were upregulated in the broilers compared to the layers indicating a net overall increase in FA metabolism, which may be driven by the larger relative liver size as a percentage of bodyweight in the broilers. Genes involved in innate immunity such as TLR2 and TLR4, as well as organelle stress indicators ERN1 and XBP1 were found to be non-significant, with the exception of high expression levels of XBP1 in layers compared to the cross and broilers. Additionally there was no difference in heterophil: lymphocytes between any of the birds. Conclusions: The results provide evidence that genetic selection may be associated with altered metabolic processes between broilers, layers and their F1 cross. Whilst there is no evidence of interactions between FA metabolism, innate immunity or cellular stress, further investigations at later time points as growth and fat deposition increase would provide useful information as to the effects of divergent selection on key metabolic and immunological processes.
Keywords: Broiler; cellular stress; fatty acid metabolism; innate immunity; layer; selection
Rights: © The Author(s). 2017 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
DOI: 10.1186/s40104-017-0202-4
Appears in Collections:Animal and Veterinary Sciences publications
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