Uterine fluid proteins and egg quality characteristics for 2 commercial and 2 heritage laying hen lines in response to manipulation of dietary calcium and vitamin D3.

Kaur, R., Rathgeber, B.M., Thompson, K.L., and MacIsaac, J.L. (2013). "Uterine fluid proteins and egg quality characteristics for 2 commercial and 2 heritage laying hen lines in response to manipulation of dietary calcium and vitamin D3.", Poultry Science, 92(9), pp. 2419-2432. doi : 10.3382/ps.2012-02983  Access to full text

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality of eggs from 2 selected commercial strains of laying hens and 2 unselected lines of chickens fed diets with different combinations of Ca and vitamin D and relate it to the profile of uterine proteins and ultrastructure of the shell. A group of 4 chickens was housed in each of 24 cages. The group consisted of one representative from each of the following breeds: Lohmann LSL- Lite, Lohmann Classic-Brown, Fayoumi, and Light Sussex. Six dietary combinations of Ca and vitamin D3 (3.35%, 2,500 IU; 4.10%, 2,500 IU (control); 4.85%, 2,500 IU; 3.35%, 200 IU; 4.10%, 200 IU; and 4.85%, 200 IU) were randomly assigned to 4 replicate cages for 2 treatment periods (26–29 and 56–59 wk of age). Data were analyzed as a split-plot design with cage as the main plot and hen as the subplot. Egg quality traits were different (P < 0.0001) between commercial and heritage breeds. Lohmann Brown had stronger shells with higher specific gravity compared with other breeds. Both commercial and heritage birds responded to a drop in vitamin D3 level by marked reduction in shell thickness. The SDS-PAGE profiles of uterine fluid samples revealed a decrease (P < 0.05) in 200-, 150-, 116-, and ≤6.5-kDa proteins, whereas proteins with molecular weight (MW) of 80, 55, 52, 45, 42, and 28 kDa increased with bird age. A 36- and 52-kDa protein band was most intense for Fayoumi compared with other breeds. Ultrastructural characteristics showed flattened and deeply etched mammillary caps for Lohmann Brown and the presence of type A and type B bodies between mammillary cones in eggshells from Fayoumi and Lohmann Lite. The negative correlation between ultrastructural characteristics, which decrease with bird age, and the 116-kDa uterine protein band could provide insight into reduced eggshell quality as hens age.

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