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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Transcriptomic analysis reveals the molecular mechanisms underlying osteoclast differentiation in the estrogen-deficient pullets

Yue, Qiaoxian; Huang, Chenxuan; Song, Pengyan; Wang, Siwei; Chen, Hui; Wang, Dehe; Li, Fuwei; Zhou, Rongyan


Several previous reports have suggested that estrogen (E2) is a vital signal responsible for the reg-ulation of skeletal homeostasis and bone remodeling in mammals. E2 could efficiently accelerate the growth of medullary bone in pullets during sexual maturity. Fur-thermore, the low E2 level can strengthen the mechanical bone functions in female hens. However, mechanistic studies to describe the effects of E2 on bone in pullets during the initiation of the puberty period are remaining elusive. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the effect of inhibiting E2 biosynthesis on the biomechani-cal properties and its molecular mechanism during sexual maturity of pullets. In this study, a total of 90 Hy-line Sonia pullets with comparable body weight at 13 wk of age were selected and categorized into 2 separate groups. Daily, 0.5 mg/4 mL of letrozole (LZ) was orally adminis-tered to the treatment (TRT) group and 4 mL of saline to the control (CON) group of pullets for 6 wk. Com-pared with the CON group, a lower plasma E2 level was observed in the TRT group. Furthermore, plasma P, Gla protein (BGP), and 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D3 (1,25-(OH)2D3) levels were markedly suppressed, whereas the plasma alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) levels were signifi-cantly elevated. Moreover, the cortical bone thickness and breaking strength of the tibia and femur, the bone mineral density of the humerus, and the bone mineral content of the humerus as well as the femur were increased significantly. The expression levels of 340 dif-ferentially expressed genes (DEGs) differed signifi-cantly between the CON and TRT group in the tibia at 19 wk of age. Among them, 32 genes were up-regulated, whereas 308 were down-regulated in the TRT group. The variations in candidate genes associated with oste-oclast differentiation and cell adhesion may indicate that LZ inhibits E2 biosynthesis, consequently, reduces osteoclast differentiation by suppressing inter-cellular communication and cells attaching to extracellular matrix components. Taken together, the present study demonstrated that inhibiting E2 synthesis during sex-ual maturity of pullets decreased osteoclast differentia-tion and considerably enhanced bone quality.


estrogen; osteoclast; sexual maturity; pullet

Published in

Poultry Science
2023, Volume: 102, number: 3, article number: 102453
Publisher: ELSEVIER

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      Animal and Dairy Science

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