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Extremely different behaviours in high and low body weight lines of chicken are associated with differential expression of genes involved in neuronal plasticity
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Developmental Neuroscience.
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2009 (English)In: Journal of neuroendocrinology (Print), ISSN 0953-8194, E-ISSN 1365-2826, Vol. 21, no 3, 208-216 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Long-term selection (> 45 generations) for low or high body weight from the same founder population has generated two extremely divergent lines of chickens, the low (LWS) and high weight (HWS) lines, which at the age of selection (56 days) differs by more than nine-fold in body weight. The HWS line chickens are compulsive feeders, whereas, in the LWS line, some individuals are anorexic and others have very low appetites. The involvement of the central nervous system in these behavioural differences has been experimentally supported. We compared a brain region at 0 and 56 days of age containing the major metabolic regulatory regions, including the hypothalamus and brainstem, using a global cDNA array expression analysis. The results obtained show that the long-term selection has produced minor but multiple expression differences. Genes that regulate neuronal plasticity, such as actin filament polymerisation and brain-derived neurotrophic factor, were identified as being differentially expressed. Genes involved in lipid metabolism were over-represented among differentially expressed genes. The expression data confirm that neural systems regulating feeding behaviours in these lines are different. The results suggest that the lines are set in separate developmental trajectories equipped with slightly different nervous systems. We suggest that the lines adapt behaviourally different to changing situations post hatch, such as the transition from dependence on yolk to feeding, in order to obtain energy. The present study has identified and exemplifies the kind of changes that may underlie the extreme differences in such behaviours.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 21, no 3, 208-216 p.
Keyword [en]
BDNF, body weight, cDNA microarray, chicken, feeding behaviour, hypothalamus, POMC, selection lines
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Developmental Neurosciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-110537DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2009.01819.xISI: 000263465100007PubMedID: 19207828OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-110537DiVA: diva2:277239
Available from: 2009-11-16 Created: 2009-11-16 Last updated: 2012-03-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Gene Expression in the Brains of Two Lines of Chicken Divergently Selected for High and Low Body Weight
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gene Expression in the Brains of Two Lines of Chicken Divergently Selected for High and Low Body Weight
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Artificial divergent selection of chickens for high and low body weight at 8 weeks of age has produced two lines: the high (HWS) and low (LWS) body weight chicken lines. In addition to the difference in body weight, the lines show extreme differences in feeding behaviour and body composition. The aim of this study was to uncover the genetic and molecular factors that contribute to and determine these differences, especially regarding body energy regulation and appetite.

In papers I and II, genome-wide gene expression in a brain sample containing hypothalamus and in dissected hypothalamus was analysed using DNA microarray and qRT-PCR. We found that levels of differential expression were generally moderate, which was consistent with the idea that polygenic factors were involved in the establishment of the chicken lines. Genes associated with neural plasticity, lipid metabolism and body energy regulation were differentially expressed. This result indicated that the neural systems regulating feeding behaviour and body weight were altered in the chicken lines. However, genes that were involved in the central melanocortin system were not systematically differentially expressed. Interestingly, the biggest differences in expression between the lines found in endogenous retrovirus sequences of the ALV subgroup E. Thus, in paper III, we characterized the number of integrations, the expression of ALVE retroviral elements and their effects on body weight. A significant correlation between low body weight and high ALVE expression was observed in female F9 birds from an HWS x LWS advanced intercross line. This implied that ev-loci contributing to increased ALVE expression levels were genetically linked to loci influencing the low body weight of the pullets. In paper IV, the carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1b gene (CPT1B), which was highly differentially expressed in the hypothalami, was investigated. We mapped chicken CPT1B to the distal tip of chromosome 1p. The levels of CPT1B mRNA in the HWS line were higher in the hypothalamus and lower in muscle than in the LWS line. This pattern of differential expression indicates that this gene could contribute to the remarkable phenotypic differences between HWS and LWS chickens. However, comparison with quantitative trait loci data showed that the expression of CPT1B is a trans effect, rather than a direct causative locus.

In conclusion, the data suggested that the long-term selection for body weight resulted in differential gene expression in the brains of the selected chicken lines. These results may have relevance for the poultry industry and will also contribute to increasing knowledge about human diseases such as obesity and anorexia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2009. 62 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 484
chicken, juvenile body weight, divergent selection, gene expression, DNA microarray, quantitiative RT-PCR, hypothalamus, neural plasticity, melanocortin system, endogenous retrovirus, carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1b
National Category
Research subject
Developmental Neurosciences
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-108455 (URN)978-91-554-7611-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-11-06, B42, Husargatan 3, Uppsala, BMC, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2009-10-16 Created: 2009-09-18 Last updated: 2009-11-16Bibliographically approved

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Ka, SojeongAndersson, LeifHallböök, Finn
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