Comparison of serum biochemical parameters between two broiler chicken lines divergently selected for abdominal fat content

J Anim Sci. 2015 Jul;93(7):3278-86. doi: 10.2527/jas.2015-8871.


In humans, obesity is associated with increased or decreased levels of serum biochemical indicators. However, the relationship is not as well understood in chickens. Due to long-term intense selection for fast growth rate, modern broilers have the problem of excessive fat deposition, exhibiting biochemical or metabolic changes. In the current study, the Northeast Agricultural University broiler lines divergently selected for abdominal fat content (NEAUHLF) were used to identify differences in serum biochemical parameters between the 2 lines. A total of 18 serum biochemical indicators were investigated in the 16th, 17th, and 18th generation populations of NEAUHLF, and the genetic parameters of these serum biochemical indicators were estimated. After analyzing the data from these 3 generations together, the results showed that the levels of 16 of the tested serum biochemical parameters were significantly different between the lean and fat birds. In the fat birds, serum concentrations of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), HDL-C:low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), total bile acid, total protein, albumin, globulin, aspartate transaminase (AST):alanine transaminase (ALT), γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), uric acid, and creatinine were very significantly higher (P < 0.01), whereas LDL-C, albumin:globulin, glucose, AST, ALT, and free fatty acids concentrations in serum were very significantly lower than those in the lean birds (P < 0.01). Of these 16 serum biochemical parameters, 5 (LDL-C, HDL-C:LDL-C, total bile acid, albumin, and albumin:globulin) had high heritabilities (0.58 ≤ h2 ≤ 0.89), 6 (HDL-C, total protein, globulin, AST:ALT, GGT, and creatinine) had moderate heritabilities (0.29 ≤ h2 ≤ 0.48), and the remaining 5 had low heritabilities (h2 < 0.20). Serum HDL-C, HDL-C:LDL-C, and glucose had higher positive genetic correlation coefficients (rg) with abdominal fat traits (0.30 ≤ rg ≤ 0.80), whereas serum globulin, AST, and uric acid showed higher negative genetic correlations with abdominal fat traits (–0.62 ≤ rg ≤ –0.30). The remaining 10 serum biochemical parameters had lower genetic correlations with abdominal fat traits (–0.30 < rg < 0.30). In conclusion, we identified serum HDL-C and HDL-C:LDL-C levels as potential biomarkers for selection of lean birds. These findings will also be useful in future studies for investigating obesity and lipid metabolism in humans as well as in other animal species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat / metabolism*
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Animals
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Biomarkers
  • Chickens / blood*
  • Chickens / genetics
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Lipid Metabolism / genetics
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Selection, Genetic*


  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase