Spontaneous intake of essential oils after a negative postnatal experience has long-term effects on blood transcriptome in chickens.

Aline Foury, Anne Collin, Jean-Christophe Helbling, Christine Leterrier, Marie-Pierre Moisan, Laurence A. Guilloteau
Sci Rep. 2020-11-26; 10(1):
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-77732-5

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Chicks subjected to early stressful factors could develop long-lasting effects on their performances, welfare and health. Free access to essential oils (EO) in poultry farming could mitigate these effects and potentially reduce use of antimicrobial drugs. This study on chicken analyzed long-lasting effects of post-hatch adverse conditions (Delayed group), and the impact of EO intake on blood physiological parameters and transcriptome. Half of the Control and Delayed groups had free access to EO, while the other half had only water for the first 13 days post-hatching. Blood analyses of metabolites, inflammation and oxidative stress biomarkers, and mRNA expression showed sex differences. Long-lasting effects of postnatal experience and EO intake persisted in blood transcriptome at D34. The early adverse conditions modified 68 genes in males and 83 genes in females. In Delayed males six transcription factors were over-represented (NFE2L2, MEF2A, FOXI1, Foxd3, Sox2 and TEAD1). In females only one factor was over-represented (PLAG1) and four under-represented (NFIL3, Foxd3, ESR2 and TAL1::TCF3). The genes showing modified expression are involved in oxidative stress, growth, bone metabolism and reproduction. Remarkably, spontaneous EO intake restored the expression levels of some genes affected by the postnatal adverse conditions suggesting a mitigating effect of EO intake.

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