Tibial dyschondroplasia (TD) is a common skeletal disorder in broiler chickens. It is characterized by the presence of a non-vascularized and unmineralized cartilage in the growth plate. Previous studies have investigated differential expression of genes related to cartilage development during latter stages of TD. The aim of our study was to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the growth plate of broiler chickens, which were associated with early stage TD. We induced TD using tetramethylthiuram disulfide (thiram) for 1, 2, and 6 days and determined DEGs with chicken Affymetrix GeneChip assays. The identified DEGs were verified by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays.
We identified 1630 DEGs, with 82, 1385, and 429 exhibiting at least 2.0-fold changes (P < 0.05) at days 1, 2, and 6, respectively. These DEGs participate in a variety of biological processes, including cytokine production, oxidation reduction, and cell surface receptor linked signal transduction on day 1; lipid biosynthesis, regulation of growth, cell cycle, positive and negative gene regulation, transcription and transcription regulation, and anti-apoptosis on day 2; and regulation of cell proliferation, transcription, dephosphorylation, catabolism, proteolysis, and immune responses on day 6. The identified DEGs were associated with the following pathways: neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction on day 1; synthesis and degradation of ketone bodies, terpenoid backbone biosynthesis, ether lipid metabolism, JAK-STAT, GnRH signaling pathway, ubiquitin mediated proteolysis, TGF-β signaling, focal adhesion, and Wnt signaling on day 2; and arachidonic acid metabolism, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling, JAK-STAT, insulin signaling, and glycolysis on day 6. We validated seven DEGs by qPCR.
Our findings demonstrate previously unrecognized changes in gene transcription associated with early stage TD. The DEGs we identified by microarray analysis will be used in future studies to clarify the molecular pathogenic mechanisms of TD. From these findings, potential pathways involved in early stage TD warrant further investigation.