Effects of first exogenous nutrients on the mRNA levels of atrogin-1/MAFbx and GLUT1 in the skeletal muscles of newly hatched chicks

Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2017 Mar;205:8-14. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2016.12.014. Epub 2016 Dec 16.


The aim of this study was to examine the effects of first exogenous nutrients on the mRNA levels of muscle atrophy F-box (atrogin-1/MAFbx) and glucose transporters (GLUTs) in the skeletal muscles of newly hatched chicks with no feed experience. In experiment 1, newly hatched chicks had free access to feed or were fasted for the first 24h. The chicks having free access to feed for the first 24h increased their body weight and had decreased atrogin-1/MAFbx mRNA levels in their sartorius and pectoralis major muscles compared with the fasted chicks. In experiment 2, newly hatched chicks received a single feed via intubation into the crop. Three hours after intubation, levels of atrogin-1/MAFbx mRNA in the sartorius muscle were decreased whereas the plasma insulin concentration and phosphorylated AKT levels in the sartorius muscle were increased. In addition, the mRNA levels of GLUT1 and GLUT8 were increased in the sartorius muscle after the intubation. However, in the pectoralis major muscle, AKT phosphorylation and levels of atrogin-1/MAFbx, GLUT1 and GLUT8 mRNA were not affected 3h after intubation. The first exogenous nutrients increased the level of phosphorylated AKT in the sartorius muscle of newly hatched chicks, possibly because of the decrease in atrogin-1/MAFbx mRNA levels. Furthermore, the sartorius muscle in newly hatched chicks appeared to be more susceptible to the first feed compared with the pectoralis major muscle.

Keywords: AKT; Atrogin-1/MAFbx; Glucose transporter; Neonatal chicks; Skeletal muscle.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Avian Proteins / genetics*
  • Avian Proteins / metabolism
  • Chickens / genetics*
  • Chickens / metabolism
  • F-Box Proteins / genetics*
  • Gene Expression
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1 / genetics*
  • Male
  • Muscle Proteins / genetics*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • Avian Proteins
  • F-Box Proteins
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • Muscle Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt