Relative insensitivity of avian skeletal muscle glycogen to nutritive status

Melissa R. Edwards, John P. McMurtry, Regina Vasilatos-Younken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Previous studies in avian species have reported time-dependent losses in muscle glycogen with prolonged feed withdrawal (FW). However, cervical dislocation was used to collect tissues, a method that results in significant involuntary muscle convulsions. In this study, cervical dislocation alone was found to reduce muscle glycogen by 23%, therefore, barbiturate overdose was used to collect tissue samples before and after FW, at the end of refeeding, and from continuously fed controls at each interval. Additionally, plasma samples from 6-wk-old male chickens were taken at the initiation and end of a 24-hr feed withdrawal, and at various times during refeeding. After 24 hr of FW, liver glycogen decreased markedly (77%; P < 0.05), whereas muscle glycogen decreased slightly and transiently, such that it returned to and remained at control levels, even after prolonged (72 hr) FW. Plasma glucose was decreased, whereas glucagon was elevated after a 24-hr feed withdrawal (P < 0.05), when compared with control concentrations. Muscle glycogen levels were not significantly increased over control levels after refeeding, but liver glycogen was increased by 380% (P < 0.05). Feed deprivation followed by refeeding resulted in increased circulating insulin and glucose levels when compared with control levels. Therefore, by using methods of tissue collection that ensure that muscle glycogen determinations are not confounded by artifactual degradation, these results verify that regulation of avian muscle glycogen stores is similar to that in mammals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-247
Number of pages9
JournalDomestic Animal Endocrinology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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