Astragalus Polysaccharide (APS), the main active ingredient of Astragalus membranaceus, has extensive biological activities related to immune, metabolic, and anti-oxidative regulatory processes. Previous studies have proven that piRNAs could play important roles in genital glands. A recent study aimed to identify differentially expressed piRNAs in chicken testes in response to dietary APS supplements and further evaluate the roles of these piRNAs related to the effect of dietary APS supplements on testicular changes.

Researchers from Northwest A&F University generated piRNA expression profiles of testes from breeding cocks fed without or with extra APS. Their results found 42 up-regulated and 86 down-regulated piRNAs in the APS group, compared with the control group meeting the criteria of P < 0.05 and fold change <0.67 or fold change >1.5. The potential targets were subsequently annotated against the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes databases. Results revealed that dietary APS supplements could regulate tight junction pathways by regulating piRNA expression profiles related to the regulation of a better testicular conditions for spermatogenesis.

These results provide novel insights into the effect of dietary APS supplements on testicular piRNA expression profiles and its potential roles in testicular condition regulation.


S. Wu, Y. Li, S. Chen, S. Liang, X. Ren, W. Guo, Q. Sun, X. Yang  (2017) Effect of dietary Astragalus Polysaccharide supplements on testicular piRNA expression profiles of breeding cocks Int. J. of Biol. Macromol. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2017.05.122 [abstract]

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