Effects of coenzyme Q10 on reproductive performance of laying Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) under cadmium challenge

Poult Sci. 2021 Nov;100(11):101418. doi: 10.1016/j.psj.2021.101418. Epub 2021 Aug 8.


Japanese quail is an increasingly important bird of economic importance for commercial egg and meat production, particularly in developing countries. There is a need for research aimed at improving efficiency of these birds during stressful challenges, such as oxidative stress. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a highly functional antioxidant, protects cells against oxidative stress. This study was conducted to determine the effects of CoQ10 on reproductive performance of Japanese quail under cadmium (Cd) challenge. A total of 216 six-wk-old Japanese quail were randomly allocated into 3 groups for an 8 wk experimental trial. The treatments include a negative control (NC): feeding basal diet; a positive control (PC): feeding basal diet and cadmium administration (1 mg/100 g BW, at 10 and 11 wk of age), and (CdQ10): feeding CoQ10 supplemented (900 mg/kg diet) basal diet and Cd administration. At 11 and 13 wk of age, egg production, body weight, mortality, oviduct, and ovarian biometry, were recorded. Histology and histopathology of isthmus and magnum, fertility, hatchability, hatchling quality, and HSP70 mRNA transcript abundance in the utero-vaginal junction (UVJ) were evaluated. Positive control and CdQ10 group had no significant effect on live body weight, stroma weight, follicle size, hatchability, and fertility; however, Cd administration increased (P < 0.01) mortality rate in the PC group compared to the NC and CdQ10 groups. CdQ10 quail produced more eggs and had a higher hatchling quality compared to the PC group (P < 0.01). The thickness and height of isthmus and magnum folds in the CdQ10 group was increased compared to the PC group (P < 0.01) and overall oviduct weight was increased with CoQ10 supplementation (P < 0.01). Compared to PC, the CdQ10 group had a reduction in infiltration of inflammatory cells. Relative abundance of HSP70 mRNA in UVJ was influenced by interactive effect of treatment × time (P < 0.05). In conclusion, dietary supplementation of CoQ10 showed beneficial effects on some reproduction characteristics of female Japanese quail under Cd-induced oxidative stress.

Keywords: HSP70; antioxidant; avian; histology; oxidative stress.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadmium* / toxicity
  • Chickens
  • Coturnix*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Ovum
  • Quail
  • Reproduction
  • Ubiquinone / analogs & derivatives


  • Cadmium
  • Ubiquinone
  • coenzyme Q10