Effect of chronic hypoxia during embryonic development on physiological functioning and on hatching and post-hatching parameters related to ascites syndrome in broiler chickens

Avian Pathol. 2004 Dec;33(6):558-64. doi: 10.1080/03079450400013188.


The present study was designed to investigate the effect of different atmospheric pressure on the endogenous functions of broiler chickens during embryonic, hatching and growing periods related to ascites. Eggs from a commercial broiler line were incubated in two similar commercial incubators at high and low altitudes. The effect on embryonic development and physiological functions including hatching parameters, incidence of ascites and growth performance were examined. Embryos incubated at high altitude had higher plasma tri-iodothyronine, thyroxine, corticosteroid and lactic acid levels, and hatched earlier than those incubated at low altitude. Embryonic mortality was higher at high altitude. Chickens that had been incubated at high altitude showed less right ventricular hypertrophy and ascites mortality than those incubated at low altitude. It was concluded that different atmospheric pressure during incubation interacts with the endocrine functions of the embryo and hence affects hatching parameters, thereby influencing ascites susceptibility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Altitude
  • Animals
  • Ascites / embryology
  • Ascites / physiopathology
  • Ascites / veterinary*
  • Chick Embryo / growth & development*
  • Chickens
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Hypoxia / veterinary*
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Ovum / physiology
  • Poultry Diseases / embryology*
  • Poultry Diseases / physiopathology
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Triiodothyronine / blood


  • Triiodothyronine
  • Lactic Acid
  • Thyroxine
  • Corticosterone