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Animal Reproduction and Physiology
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2010;23(4): 437-443.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2010.90400    Published online February 22, 2010.
The Effect of Stocking Density on Stress Related Genes and Telomeric Length in Broiler Chickens
J. Beloor, H. K. Kang, Y. J. Kim, V. K. Subramani, I. S. Jang, S. H. Sohn, Y. S. Moon
To be economically profitable, the poultry industry demands an increase in stocking density, which could adversely affect chicken welfare. The current study was performed to investigate the effect of stocking density on stress-related, heat shock protein genes (HSP70 and HSP90), 3-hydroxyl-3-methyl-glutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR) gene and telomere length in broiler chickens. Seven-day-old broiler chickens were housed at High (0.0578 m2/bird), Standard (0.077 m2/bird) and Low (0.116 m2/bird) stocking densities with 8 replicates each until 35 d of age. The growth performance, such as body weight gain and average daily feed intake, was found to be significantly (p<0.05) higher in the Low density group, but these parameters did not show any difference between the High and Standard groups. Other growth performance, such as feed conversion ratio and final feed intake, showed no difference among the treated groups. The expression levels of HSP70 and HMGCR were found to be elevated with the increase of stocking density. The expression level of these genes was significantly (p<0.05) higher in the High density stocked group compared with the other groups, whereas the expression levels were not significantly different between the Low and Standard groups. The expression levels of HSP90 did not show any significant changes among the treated groups. The telomeric length of the birds housed in High density was reduced significantly (p<0.05) when compared to that of the birds in Low density. These results clearly indicate that birds stocked at high density show physiological adaptive changes indicative of stress at gene transcriptional and telomere levels.
Keywords: Chicken; Stress; Heat Shock Proteins; Telomere

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