Goose broodiness is involved in granulosa cell autophagy and homeostatic imbalance of follicular hormones

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Broodiness is observed in most domestic fowls and influences egg production. The goose is one of the most important waterfowls, having strong broody behavior. However, whether autophagy and follicular internal environment play a role in the broodiness behavior of goose is unknown. In this report, we analyzed the follicular internal environment and granulosa cell autophagy of goose follicles. The results show that the contents of hormones, including prolactin (PRL), progesterone (P4), and estradiol (E2), increased in broody goose follicles. Most importantly, the level of granulosa cell autophagy in broody goose follicles was elevated, detected by electron microscopy and western blotting. Also, the expressions of positive regulators of autophagy, including miR-7, miR-29, miR-100, miR-181, PRLR, LC3, p53, Beclin1, Atg9, and Atg12, were up-regulated and the expressions of negative regulators of autophagy, including miR-34b and miR-34c, were down-regulated in broody goose follicles. Our results suggest that goose broodiness is involved in increased granulosa cell autophagy and homeostasis imbalance of internal environment in the follicles. This work contributes to our knowledge of goose broodiness and may influence egg production.

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