Role of Glucagon in the Metabolic Response to Stress in Chickens

P. MONEVA, D. GUDEV, S. POPOVA-RALCHEVA, D. ABADJIEVA and I. YANCHEV
Institute of Animal Science, BG - 2232 Kostinbrod, Bulgaria

Abstract

P. MONEVA, D. GUDEV, S. POPOVA-RALCHEVA, D. ABADJIEVA and I. YANCHEV, 2010. Role of glucagon in the metabolic response to stress in chickens. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 16: 91-98

Forty Lohmann breed chickens at seven weeks of age were housed in cages (5 per cage). The chickens were divided into 3 groups: I – control group injected with saline solution (0.9% NaCl), II group – injected with glucagon (50 μg /bird) and III group - injected with glucagon (100 μg/bird) into the breast muscle. Blood samples were taken at the following intervals: 0 min (baseline level), 30, 60, 90 and 120 min following the injection in I and II group, and 30 and 90 min following the injection in III group. Exogenous glucagon potentiated handling-induced corticosterone enhancement. There was no relationship between plasma corticosterone and glucose level in glucagon treated chickens. Plasma cholesterol level declined during the first 60 min following the administration of glucagon and then increased during the next 60 min (60-120 min) in the chickens given 50 μg glucagon while in the chickens given 100 μg glucagon cholesterol level declined both by 30 and 90 min, relative to baseline level. The dynamics of heterophil-to-lymphocyte ratio did not correspond to plasma corticosterone level. Exogenous glucagon had no significant effect on hematocrit, erythrocyte and leukocyte numbers. These results suggest that exogenous glucagon stimulates adrenal function and exerts control on stressinduced increase in plasma glucose level, heterophil-to-lymphocyte ratio and plasma cholesterol level.

Key words: glucagon, corticosterone, glucose, cholesterol, heterophils, lymphocytes, leukocytes, hematocrit

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