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Transcriptional and pathway analysis in the hypothalamus of newly hatched chicks during fasting and delayed feeding

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  • Stacy E Higgins
  • Laura E Ellestad
  • Nares Trakooljul
  • Fiona McCarthy
  • Jason Saliba
  • Larry A Cogburn
  • Tom E Porter

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162
JournalBMC Genomics
Publication statusPublished - 2010


The hypothalamus plays a central role in regulating appetite and metabolism. However, the gene networks within the hypothalamus that regulate feed intake and metabolism, and the effects of fasting on those pathways are not completely understood in any species. The present experiment evaluated global hypothalamic gene expression in newly hatched chicks using microarray analysis to elucidate genes and pathways regulated by feeding, fasting, and delayed feeding. Ten groups of chicks were sampled over four days post-hatch, including fed, fasted, and 48 h fasted followed by access to feed for 4 h, 24 h, and 48 h. Hypothalamic samples were collected for microarray analysis (n = 4). Expression patterns of selected genes were confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR. Pathway analysis of the microarray results predicted a network of genes involved in neuropeptide or neurotransmitter signaling. To confirm the functionality of this predicted gene network, hypothalamic neurons from fed and fasted chicks were isolated and cultured in the presence of neuropeptide Y, somatostatin, alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone, norepinephrine, and L-phospho-serine. Results confirmed functional relationships among members of the predicted gene network. Moreover, the effects observed were dependent upon the nutritional state of the animals (fed vs. fasted).

    Research areas

  • Age Factors, Animals, Cells, Cultured, Chickens, Eating, Food Deprivation, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Gene Regulatory Networks, Hypothalamus, Male, Neurons, Nutritional Status, Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis

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