Effect of incubation temperature on nutrient transporters and small intestine morphology of broiler chickens

A. Barri, C. F. Honaker, J. R. Sottosanti, R. M. Hulet, A. P. McElroy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the effects of elevated incubation temperature on posthatch nutrient transporter gene expression, integrity of the intestinal epithelium, organ development, and performance in Ross 308 broiler chickens. Ross × Ross 308 fertile eggs (n = 900) were incubated at different eggshell temperatures during development. From embryonic day (ED) 1 to ED12, all eggs were incubated at 37.1°C, whereas from ED13 to ED21, the eggs were divided into 2 groups for incubation at 37.4°C (S) or 39.6°C (H). Performance characteristics were measured at day of hatch (DOH) and d 7, 14, 21, 30, and 42. Small intestine and residual yolk sacs were collected at DOH and d 2, 4, 6, and 10 and weighed individually. Intestinal samples from the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum were evaluated for mucosal morphology and relative nutrient transporter gene expression. No significant differences were found in performance or organ weights. The intestinal morphology results showed a temperature × age interaction in duodenum villus height (P = 0.02) and crypt depth (P = 0.05) and in ileum villus height-to-crypt depth ratios (P = 0.02). There was a main effect of temperature, resulting in deeper crypts (P = 0.02) in the jejunum of chicks incubated at H compared with S. In the nutrient gene expression evaluation, peptide transporter (PepT1) showed a temperature × age interaction. On DOH and d 2, 4, and 10, PepT1 expression was similar between chicks incubated at S and H. However, on d 6, chicks incubated at S had significantly higher expression of PepT1 than those incubated at H. This study presents the effects of elevated incubation temperature on small intestine morphology and relative expression of nutrient transporter mRNA in high-yield broiler chicks, which can be important for the availability of nutrients and distribution of energy. 2011 Poultry Science Association Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-125
Number of pages8
JournalPoultry science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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