Hormonal and environmental interactions on thyroid function in the chick embryo and posthatching chicken

E. R. Kühn, E. Decuypere, P. Rudas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)


Recent research has focused on developmental changes in thyroxine (T4) metabolism as well as hormonal and environmental interactions upon peripheral monodeiodination. Toward the end of incubation and the time of air space membrane perforation, concentrations of 3,3′,5′‐triiodothyronine T3 increase more rapidly than T4, while reverse T3 (rT3) decreases. Administration of glucocorticoids or prolactin (hormones known to increase at the end of incubation) 2 to 3 days prior to air chamber perforation can induce this change in T4 metabolism. Attention has been focused on two major environmental factors that influence T4 concentrations in posthatch chicks. T4 disappearance rate and peripheral T4 conversion are adjusted during thermal acclimation. More T3 will be generated in cold‐exposed chickens, and more rT3 will be produced at higher ambient temperatures. Peripheral T4 metabolism acts as an independent regulation pathway but accompanies changes in hypothalamothyroid activity. Changes in thyroid hormone levels following ambient temperature changes, therefore, are the result of a balance between central and peripheral control mechanisms, depending on age of the animal and degree and duration of the temperature change. In the hen, feeding also plays an important role in the regulation of the absolute levels and daily rhythms of plasma thyroid hormones. Fasting results in an increase in circulating T4 levels, but a decrease in T3 levels, owing to a lower 5′deiodinase activity, and also abolishes the circadian circulating T3 rhythm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-658
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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