Effects of the Combined Stress Induced by Stocking Density and Feed Restriction on Hematological and Cytokine Parameters as Stress Indicators in Laying Hens

  • Kang, Sun-Young (Department of Animal Science & Biotechnology, RAIC, Gyeongnam National University of Science & Technology) ;
  • Ko, Young-Hyun (Department of Animal Science & Biotechnology, RAIC, Gyeongnam National University of Science & Technology) ;
  • Moon, Yang-Soo (Department of Animal Science & Biotechnology, RAIC, Gyeongnam National University of Science & Technology) ;
  • Sohn, Sea-Hwan (Department of Animal Science & Biotechnology, RAIC, Gyeongnam National University of Science & Technology) ;
  • Jang, In-Surk (Department of Animal Science & Biotechnology, RAIC, Gyeongnam National University of Science & Technology)
  • Received : 2010.08.30
  • Accepted : 2010.12.07
  • Published : 2011.03.01


A study was conducted to investigate the effects of the combined stressor induced by high stocking density with feed restriction on immunological parameters such as leukocyte differential counts and cytokine expression in laying hens. A total of forty White Leghorn laying hens were randomly allotted into the control (12 kg of body weight/$m^2$) and the stress (44 kg of body weight/$m^2$) groups, and then birds of the stress group were given 75% of voluntary intake of the control birds for 12-d on a daily basis. There was a significant decrease in body weight without affecting the relative weights of the liver and spleen after 12-d of the combined stressor. In hematological values, no significant difference in leukocyte differential counts including heterophils (H), lymphocytes (L), monocytes and H:L ratio was observed between the two groups. In cytokines, hepatic lipopolysaccharide-induced tumor necrosis factor-${\alpha}$ (LITNF-${\alpha}$) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression levels in the stress group were significantly (p<0.05) higher compared with those in the control group. However, the expression levels of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-6 in the liver were not affected by the combined stressor. Splenic LITNF-${\alpha}$ expression in the combined stressor group was significantly (p<0.05) up-regulated compared with that in the control birds. However, the combined stressor did not affect splenic IL-4, IL-6 and iNOS expression. In conclusion, the combined stressor caused by high stocking density with feed restriction enhanced some pro-inflammatory cytokines including LITNF-${\alpha}$ and iNOS in lymphoid and non-lymphoid organs of birds, suggesting that altered cytokine expression to given stressors can be another parameter that can be used in assessing stress responses of birds.


The Combined Stressor;Stocking Density;Feed Restriction;Hematological Values;Cytokines;Laying Hens


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