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Gastrointestinal distribution of chicken gastrin-cholecystokinin family transcript expression and response to short-term nutritive state

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-70
Number of pages7
JournalGeneral And Comparative Endocrinology
Early online date20 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


The related peptide hormones cholecystokinin (CCK) and gastrin are conserved throughout vertebrate clades and implicated in energy homeostasis. CCK is generally accepted as a satiety hormone in poultry, but the role of gastrin remains poorly studied. Functional dissection of these ligands is required to characterise the molecular control of growth & satiety in the domestic chicken, for which there is an increasingly pressing mandate. There are limited descriptions of physiological distributions for the two genes in birds, and these are mostly reliant on immunohistochemistry which can prove problematic due to the shared structure of the targets. Therefore, we have defined the tissue distributions of CCK and gastrin in the chicken, focussing on the gastrointestinal tract, by using transcript-dependent techniques to improve reliability by increasing specificity. Though considerably more highly expressed in the brain, gastrointestinal CCK transcripts were dispersed throughout the small intestine and particularly around the proximal ileum. Gastrin expression was strictly limited to the gastric antrum region of the intestinal tract, albeit very highly expressed. We demonstrate that CCK mRNA expression does not respond as expected for a short-term satiety hormone, and that the short-term response of gastrin expression is paradoxical compared to its role in mammals. These results partially corroborate previous peptide distribution studies and initiate exploration of the nutrient-responsive roles of these hormones in avian energy balance.

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