Changes in blood metabolites, intestinal microbiota composition and gene expression of 95 weeks old laying hens differing in egg production and egg breaking strength

Dirkjan Schokker*, Jeroen Visscher, Henri Woelders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Herein, we investigated to what extent molecular phenotypes of the systemic level (blood) and local (intestine) are associated with the performance of laying hens at 95 weeks of age. After the trial had run for 95 weeks, two performance groups were generated, i.e., egg production (PROD) and egg breaking strength (BS). A subset of 21 cages, 116 hens, was measured to indicate the metabolism and disease status. Additionally, a focus group (four cages) was made to perform molecular pheno-typing in the intestine. A notifiable observation made during the post-mortem dissection was that approximately 12% of the birds at 95 weeks had developed certain aberrations and/or impairments (denoted as organ morbidity). At the systemic level, we observed five metabolites (γGT, triglycerides, HDL, glucose, and cholesterol) significantly associated to organ morbidity, and only two metabolites (urea and aspartate aminotransferase) to the performance phenotypes. At the local level, when comparing high PROD vs. low PROD, we observed differentially expressed genes involved in cell cycle processes and the extracellular matrix. When comparing high BS vs. low BS differentially, expressed genes were observed mainly involved in immune and cell cycle-related processes. This knowledge is crucial for developing novel strategies of keeping laying hens vital.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3012
JournalAnimals
Volume11
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • (blood) metabolites
  • Intestinal gene expression
  • Intestinal microbiota
  • Laying hens
  • Vitality

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