Reproductive attributes, expression of TRAP6 and TGF-β mRNA in the mucosa of the utero-vaginal junction (UVJ) of oviduct, and liver function were evaluated in Chukar partridge (Alectoris chukar) breeders subjected to long-term oral administration of fish oil (FO) and/or calcitriol (CT). A total of forty-eight 1.5-year-old laying Chukar partridges and 16 age-matched males (female:male ratio of 3:1) were randomly allocated to four groups (4 replicates of 3 female birds and one male bird each). Breeder females in groups 1, 2, and 3 were orally administered daily with 0.2 mL (0.24 g)/500 g body weight FO, 0.2 mL solution containing 10 μg CT, or their combination (FO + CT) for 42 successive days, respectively. Pure crystalline calcitriol was dissolved in ethanol (30%) prior to administration. The control group (CON), received a similar volume of a 30% solution of ethanol only. Eggs were collected and incubated to evaluate the reproductive performance. Blood samples were taken on days 0, 21, and 42 of the trial for the quantification of serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). On day 43, one bird per replicate was killed by cervical dislocation to assess the expression of TRAP6 and TGF-β genes in the UVJ mucosa. Administration of CT or FO + CT increased the egg production rate, fertility rate, and hatchability rate of the set eggs. Fertility duration and sperm penetration rate were higher in partridges receiving FO and (or) CT, but chick quality, and embryonic mortality were not affected by the treatment effect. Administration of CT or FO + CT decreased the serum ALT and AST levels. Administration of FO or CT was associated with a lower expression of TGF-β mRNA in the UVJ mucosa. Oral administration of FO resulted in a reduction in the expression of TRAP6 in the UVJ mucosa. However, the birds fed with CT or FO + CT recorded a higher mRNA expression for TRAP6. Although the reproductive performance and TRAP6 expression were higher following the feeding of FO or FO + CT, expression of TGF-β was decreased, suggesting plausibly that TGF-β may not have a determinant effect on the reproductive attributes in female Chukar partridges. Further studies are required to understand the mechanisms underlying the effects of TRAP6 and TGF-β on other reproductive criteria in partridges.
Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.