Environmental incubation factors influence embryonic thyroid hormones.


Thyroid hormone responses in embryonic avian species are of two types, developmental and metabolic. Many studies have characterized the developmental function of the turkey embryonic thyroid, but few have characterized the metabolic function. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to describe the response of turkey embryonic thyroid hormones to three environmental factors. We proposed that embryonic thyroids from different genetic backgrounds would respond differently to changes in maternal diet and incubation temperature. Lines of turkeys known to have different embryonic growth and survival were examined in the current study. These eggs differ in egg weight, eggshell conductance, hatchling weight and organ maturity at the time of hatching. Eggs were produced throughout a 20 wk laying period and embryos were sampled at monthly intervals. Half of the hens producing the eggs were fed additional iodide in their diets, then, subsequently, half of each dietary treatment and line combination were incubated at either 36.8 C or 37.5 C to prolong the incubation period. Embryos were sampled during the final week of incubation when thyroid hormones become elevated to effect maturation and survival functions in turkey embryos. Embryonic thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) levels were assayed by RIA and compared among the treatments. Line, diet, and incubation period interacted to affect the levels of T4, T3 and T3 to T4 ratios in the turkey embryonic during late incubation. It was concluded that environmental factors can affect circulating thyroid hormone levels in turkey embryos, thus affecting metabolic functions, and the possibility exists to manipulate these circulating levels using environmental incubation conditions to improve hatchability.

Cite this paper

@article{Christensen2002EnvironmentalIF, title={Environmental incubation factors influence embryonic thyroid hormones.}, author={Vern L. Christensen and Gerald S. Davis and Karl E Nestor}, journal={Poultry science}, year={2002}, volume={81 4}, pages={442-50} }