Bone characteristics, histopathology, and chondrocyte apoptosis in femoral head necrosis induced by glucocorticoid in broilers

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Femoral head necrosis (FHN) is a common disorder in fast-growing broilers in the poultry industry, but the pathogenesis of FHN has not been clarified completely. In the present study, glucocorticoid (GC) administration was used to induce FHN in broilers. Compared with normal birds, histopathology showed that the length of the articular cartilage of GC-induced FHN broilers was thicker while the proliferative zone and prehypertrophic zone were obviously thinner. Moreover, hematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining showed the apoptotic chondrocyte in the growth plate of the femoral head in FHN-affected birds. Bone parameters also decreased significantly in GC-induced FHN broilers. In addition, as for the mRNA expression, GC-induced FHN broilers had an apparent reduction in Col-II, Col-X, and Bcl-2 but a significant promotion of Caspase-3, Caspase-9, ASK-1, and JNK-1 when compared with the normal birds. It showed glucocorticoid induced FHN in broilers by affecting the proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis of chondrocytes accompanying the retarding of bone growth.

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