Title page for ETD etd-12112003-172506

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Kuo, Alice Yi-Wen
Author's Email Address akuo@vt.edu
URN etd-12112003-172506
Title Genomic and Physiological Differences for Ghrelin and Leptin Receptor in Lines of Chickens Selected for High and Low Body Weight
Degree PhD
Department Animal and Poultry Sciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Denbow, Donald Michael Committee Chair
Ashwell, Christopher M. Committee Member
Denbow, Cynthia J. Committee Member
Lee, John C. Committee Member
Siegel, Paul B. Committee Member
  • Chicken
  • Leptin receptor
  • Gene expression
  • Polymorphism
  • Ghrelin
Date of Defense 2003-12-08
Availability unrestricted
Autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity is related to body weight regulation. Based on the hypothesis that Most Obesities kNown Are Low In Sympathetic Activity (MONA LISA), it has been suggested that most obese subjects and animals have low sympathetic nervous system activity. Leptin, leptin receptor, and ghrelin genes influence the ANS regulation of body weight and food intake. The aim of this study was to investigate whether there are differences in leptin, the leptin receptor, or ghrelin regulation between lines of chickens selected for high (HWS) or low body weight (LWS).

Intraperitoneal injections of reserpine were administrated to chickens from the HWS and LWS lines. Body weight and food intake were then compared to evaluate ANS regulation. While reserpine caused a transitory decrease in food intake and body weight in both lines, the magnitude of the change was greater in the HWS than in the LWS chickens. However, chickens from the LWS line exhibited greater catecholamine and indoleamine level changes in response to reserpine than those from the HWS line. Therefore, HWS chickens were more sensitive to the body weight-reducing effects of reserpine than LWS lines, while LWS chickens appeared to have greater sympathetic nervous system activity.

Food and water intakes were differentially affected in HWS and LWS chickens in response to intracerebroventricular administration of human recombinant leptin. Leptin caused a linear decrease in food intake in the LWS line, but no effect on food intake in the HWS lines. The HWS chickens tended to have reduced water intake following leptin administration. These results suggest that the leptin receptor, or the down-stream neuropeptide regulation pathway mediating the effect of leptin; may be different between chickens from the HWS and LWS lines.

Leptin, insulin like growth factor (IGF)-1, and IGF-2 concentrations in the plasma of HWS and LWS lines of chickens were evaluated. Leptin, IGF-1 and IGF-2 levels were significantly higher in the LWS than HWS chickens. The HWS female leptin concentrations were significantly lower than in HWS males or LWS females. Male chickens had greater IGF-1 concentrations in the plasma than female chickens. However, the concentration of IGF-2 did not differ between sexes. The difference in leptin concentrations in these lines and sexes may explain the differences in age of sexual maturity. Different IGF-1 and IGF-2 concentrations may be involved in the obese and anorexic conditions, fast and slow growth, and high and low food consumption found in these two lines of chickens.

Differences in the gene sequence of the leptin receptor were observed in HWS and LWS lines of chickens. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the intron between exon 8 and 9 introduced a restriction site for the enzyme Sel I in the HWS, but not the LWS line. Two SNP were detected in the leptin receptor cDNA region at nucleotides 189 and 234. At nucleotide 189, the LWS line has both a homozygous (T-T) and heterozygous (C-T), whereas the HWS line has only homozygous (T-T) form. The SNP found in nucleotide 234 introduces a restriction site Mse I in the HWS, but not the LWS line. These specific changes may be directly involved or closely linked to differences between the two lines in either the coding or regulatory domains of the leptin receptor.

Differences in the leptin receptor gene expression between HWS and LWS lines of chickens in various organs and ages were observed. Leptin receptor expression in the whole brain was significantly different between sexes at 28 days-of-age in the HWS and LWS lines. The LWS line had higher leptin receptor gene expression in the liver at 2 days-of-age than at 56 and 363 days-of-age, but no differences were observed in the HWS line. In addition, at 2 days-of age, liver leptin receptor gene expression was higher in LWS than HWS chickens, but the reverse was observed at 363 days-of age. In adipose tissue, leptin receptor expression was higher in the LWS than HWS line. Leptin receptor expression in adipose tissue was greater at 363, than 28 and 56 days-of-ages. Our results showed that changes in the regulation of leptin and the leptin receptor were associated with sex, age, and growth.

Differences in the ghrelin gene in the HWS and LWS lines under different feeding conditions were investigated. Both HWS and LWS chickens have six extra base pairs in the 5'-untranslated region. The LWS male ghrelin gene expression was significantly lower than in the LWS female and HWS male. The 84 day-old males had lower gene expression than 84 day-old females and 363 day-old males. When comparing different feeding methods, females allowed ad libitum feed consumption had a lower cycle threshold cycle number (CT) ratio than males allowed ad libitum feeding or fasted females. However, the inflection point cycle number of ad libitum fed females was lower than that of the ad libitum fed males, but greater than the fasted females. Ghrelin gene expression was different between the two lines of chickens, and the expression of ghrelin in chickens was influenced by body weight selection, sex, age, and feeding condition. Key words: chicken, gene expression, ghrelin, leptin receptor, sequence, single nucleotide polymorphism.

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