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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Leptin receptor in the chicken ovary: potential involvement in ovarian dysfunction of ad libitum-fed broiler breeder hens.

In hens, the ovarian follicles committed to ovulation are arranged in an ordered follicular hierarchy. In standard broiler breeders hens genetically selected for high growth rate the reproductive function is clearly dysfunctional. Feed restriction is needed during reproductive development to limit the formation of excessive numbers of ovarian yellow follicles arranged in multiple hierarchies. To determine whether leptin is involved in the nutritional and reproductive interactions controlling follicular hierarchy in hens, blood leptin levels and ovarian expression of the leptin receptor mRNA were determined during follicle maturation in three chicken lines; a slow growing broiler "Label" genotype without reproductive dysfunction, a fast growing "Standard" genotype fed ad libitum or restricted and a fast growing "Experimental" line with intermediate reproductive performance levels. Whereas expression of the leptin receptor mRNA did not change in the theca, it clearly decreased with follicular differentiation in the granulosa of slow growing hens. In fast growing standard hens fed ad libitum and presenting significant reproductive dysfunction, the decrease was disrupted and dramatic up-regulation of granulosa cell expression of the leptin receptor was observed. On the other hand, feed restriction decreased the overall level of expression of the leptin receptor mRNA and restored the decrease with follicular growth. The level of expression of the leptin receptor probably modulates the action of leptin on follicular differentiation. Since blood leptin and other metabolic factors were not affected by the genotype or by nutritional state, the factors involved in the regulation of leptin receptor gene expression remain to be determined. This study demonstrates the involvement of leptin in the nutritional control of reproduction in birds. Leptin action on the ovary probably controls follicular hierarchy through the regulation of steroidogenesis.[1]


  1. Leptin receptor in the chicken ovary: potential involvement in ovarian dysfunction of ad libitum-fed broiler breeder hens. Cassy, S., Metayer, S., Crochet, S., Rideau, N., Collin, A., Tesseraud, S. Reprod. Biol. Endocrinol. (2004) [Pubmed]
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