PloS one

High Concentrations of Atmospheric Ammonia Induce Alterations in the Hepatic Proteome of Broilers (Gallus gallus): An iTRAQ-Based Quantitative Proteomic Analysis.

PMID 25901992


With the development of the poultry industry, ammonia, as a main contaminant in the air, is causing increasing problems with broiler health. To date, most studies of ammonia toxicity have focused on the nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract in mammals. However, few detailed studies have been conducted on the hepatic response to ammonia toxicity in poultry. The molecular mechanisms that underlie these effects remain unclear. In the present study, our group applied isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ)-based quantitative proteomic analysis to investigate changes in the protein profile change in hepatic tissue of broilers exposed to high concentrations of atmospheric ammonia, with the goal of characterizing the molecular mechanisms of chronic liver injury from exposure to high ambient levels of ammonia. Overall, 30 differentially expressed proteins that are involved in nutrient metabolism (energy, lipid, and amino acid), immune response, transcriptional and translational regulation, stress response, and detoxification were identified. In particular, two of these proteins, beta-1 galactosidase (GLB1) and a kinase (PRKA) anchor protein 8-like (AKAP8 L), were previously suggested to be potential biomarkers of chronic liver injury. In addition to the changes in the protein profile, serum parameters and histochemical analyses of hepatic tissue also showed extensive hepatic damage in ammonia-exposed broilers. Altogether, these findings suggest that longtime exposure to high concentrations of atmospheric ammonia can trigger chronic hepatic injury in broilers via different mechanisms, providing new information that can be used for intervention using nutritional strategies in the future.