High Environmental Temperature Increases Glucose Requirement in the Developing Chicken Embryo

R. Molenaar, J.J.G.C. van den Borne, E. Hazejager, N.B. Kristensen, M.J.W. Heetkamp, R. Meijerhof, B. Kemp, H. van den Brand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Environmental conditions during the perinatal period influence metabolic and developmental processes in mammals and avian species, which could impact pre- and postnatal survival and development. The current study investigated the effect of eggshell temperature (EST) on glucose metabolism in broiler chicken embryos. Broiler eggs were incubated at a high (38.9°C) or normal (37.8°C) EST from day 10.5 of incubation onward and were injected with a bolus of [U-13C]glucose in the chorio-allantoic fluid at day 17.5 of incubation. After [U-13C]glucose administration, 13C enrichment was determined in intermediate pools and end-products of glucose metabolism. Oxidation of labeled glucose occurred for approximately 3 days after injection. Glucose oxidation was higher in the high than in the normal EST treatment from day 17.6 until 17.8 of incubation. The overall recovery of 13CO2 tended to be 4.7% higher in the high than in the normal EST treatment. An increase in EST (38.9°C vs 37.8°C) increased 13C enrichment in plasma lactate at day 17.8 of incubation and 13C in hepatic glycogen at day 18.8 of incubation. Furthermore, high compared to normal EST resulted in a lower yolk-free body mass at day 20.9 (-2.74 g) and 21.7 (-3.81 g) of incubation, a lower hepatic glycogen concentration at day 18.2 (-4.37 mg/g) and 18.8 (-4.59 mg/g) of incubation, and a higher plasma uric acid concentration (+2.8 mg/mL/+43%) at day 21.6 of incubation. These results indicate that the glucose oxidation pattern is relatively slow, but the intensity increased consistently with an increase in developmental stage of the embryo. High environmental temperatures in the perinatal period of chicken embryos increased glucose oxidation and decreased hepatic glycogen prior to the hatching process. This may limit glucose availability for successful hatching and could impact body development, probably by increased gluconeogenesis from glucogenic amino acids to allow anaerobic glycolysis
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere59637
Number of pages12
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • eggshell temperature
  • oxygen concentration
  • broiler embryos
  • domestic-fowl
  • carbohydrate metabolism
  • gallus domesticus
  • tissue glycogen
  • late incubation
  • turkey embryos
  • liver


Dive into the research topics of 'High Environmental Temperature Increases Glucose Requirement in the Developing Chicken Embryo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this