The liver function of chickens is intensively remodeled from birth to adult, which was validated by metabolomics research in a recent study. In order to understand the roles of microRNAs (miRNA) in liver maturation and metergasis, miRNA expression profiles in the livers of 20 male chicks aged one day and five adult cocks aged 35 weeks were generated using miRNA sequencing.

A total of 191 differentially expressed miRNAs with the criteria of P < 0.05 and fold changes either >1.5 or <0.67 and 32 differentially expressed miRNAs with the criteria of false discovery value (FDR) < 0.05 and fold changes either >1.5 or <0.67 were detected. Subsequently, Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes analyses of the targets revealed that candidate miRNAs may be involved with the regulation of hepatic metabolism and immune functions, and some pathways including cell cycle which were implicated in postnatal liver development. Furthermore, 1211 differentially expressed mRNAs (messenger RNA) in livers between the postnatal and matured chickens were used to define the roles of differentially expressed miRNAs in regulating the expression of target genes.

These results reveal the first miRNA profile related to the adaption of mature liver functions after birth in breeder cock.


The heat map of differential metabolites in livers between the postnatal young chicks (YC) and adult chickens (AC). Notes: The up-regulated metabolites are depicted in red color whereas the down-regulated metabolites are depicted in green color.


S. Wu, W. Guo, H. Lu, Q. Sun, X. Yang et al. (2018) Systematic analysis of the regulatory roles of microRNAs in postnatal maturation and metergasis of liver of breeder cocks Sci. Rep. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-18674-3 [article]

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