Zearalenone Altered the Serum Hormones, Morphologic and Apoptotic Measurements of Genital Organs in Post-weaning Gilts

  • Chen, X.X. (Department of Animal Sciences and Technology, Shandong Agricultural University) ;
  • Yang, C.W. (College of Life science, Shandong Agricultural University) ;
  • Huang, L.B. (Department of Animal Sciences and Technology, Shandong Agricultural University) ;
  • Niu, Q.S. (Department of Animal Sciences and Technology, Shandong Agricultural University) ;
  • Jiang, Shuzhen (Department of Animal Sciences and Technology, Shandong Agricultural University) ;
  • Chi, F. (Amlan International)
  • Received : 2014.05.07
  • Accepted : 2014.09.05
  • Published : 2015.02.01


The present study was aimed at investigating the adverse effects of dietary zearalenone (ZEA) (1.1 to 3.2 mg/kg diet) on serum hormones, morphologic and apoptotic measurements of genital organs in post-weaning gilts. A total of twenty gilts ($Landrace{\times}Yorkshire{\times}Duroc$) weaned at 21 d with an average body weight of $10.36{\pm}1.21kg$ were used in the study. Gilts were fed a basal diet with an addition of 0, 1.1, 2.0, or 3.2 mg/kg purified ZEA for 18 d ad libitum. Results showed that 3.2 mg/kg ZEA challenged gilts decreased (p<0.05) the serum levels of luteinizing hormone, however, serum levels of prolactin in gilts fed the diet containing 2.0 mg/kg ZEA or more were increased (p<0.05) compared to those in the control. Linear effects on all tested serum hormones except progesterone were observed as dietary ZEA levels increased (p<0.05). Gilts fed ZEA-contaminated diet showed increase (p<0.05) in genital organs size, hyperplasia of submucosal smooth muscles in the corpus uteri in a dose-dependent manner. However, the decreased numbers of follicles in the cortex and apoptotic cells in the ovarian were observed in gilts treated with ZEA in a dose-dependent manner. Degeneration and structural abnormalities of genital organs tissues were also observed in the gilts fed diet containing 1.1 mg/kg ZEA or more. Results suggested that dietary ZEA at 1.1 to 3.2 mg/kg can induce endocrine disturbance and damage genital organs in post-weaning gilts.




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