Poultry science

Developmental regulation of adipose tissue growth through hyperplasia and hypertrophy in the embryonic Leghorn and broiler.

PMID 24812232


The United States is a world leader in poultry production, which is the reason why achieving better performance and muscle growth each year is a necessity. Reducing accretion of adipose tissue is another important factor for poultry producers because this allows more nutrients to be directed toward muscle growth, but the effect of embryonic adipose growth on posthatch development has not been fully understood. The purpose of this study was to investigate the total DNA mass, morphological characteristics, differentiation markers, and triglyceride breakdown factors of embryonic adipose tissue, and their relation to hyperplastic and hypertrophic growth within layers (Leghorn) and meat-type chickens (broilers). After embryonic day (E) 12, broiler weight was significantly higher than Leghorn, and this trend continued throughout the rest of incubation and posthatch (P < 0.05). Neck and leg fat pad weights between the 2 breeds did not differ at most of the time points. A remarkable increase in total DNA mass was observed between E12 and E14 in both Leghorn and broilers (P < 0.05), indicating a high potential for hyperplastic growth during this time. Histological analysis revealed clusters of preadipocytes at E12; however, the majority of these cells differentiated by E14 and continued to grow until the time of hatch. The adipocyte sizes between both breeds did not generally differ, even though broilers are known to have larger adipocytes posthatch. Fatty acid-binding protein 4 expression levels in Leghorn and broilers continued to rise with each time point, which paralleled the expansion of mature adipocytes. Adipose triglyceride lipase was highly expressed at E20 and d 1 posthatch to mobilize triglyceride degradation for energy during hatching. Thus, embryonic chicken adipose tissue was found to develop by hyperplastic mechanisms followed by hypertrophy. At embryonic stages and early posthatch, layer- and meat-type chicken adipose growth does not differ, which suggests breed differences occur posthatch.