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  • 1 University of Veterinary Medicine, István u. 2, H-1078 Budapest, Hungary
  • 2 University of Pannonia, Keszthely, Hungary
  • 3 University of Veterinary Medicine, Hanover, Hungary
  • a University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart-Hohenheim, Germany
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The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of butyrate as a feed supplement on the expression of insulin signalling proteins as potent regulators of metabolism and growth in Ross 308 broiler chickens fed maize- or wheat-based diets. Both diets were supplemented with non-protected butyrate (1.5 and 3.0 g/kg of diet, respectively) or with protected butyrate (0.2 g/kg of diet); the diet of the control groups was prepared without any additives (control). On day 42 of life, systemic blood samples were drawn for analyses of glucose and insulin concentrations, and tissue samples (liver, gastrocnemius muscle and subcutaneous adipose tissue) were taken for Western blotting examinations. The expression of key insulin signalling proteins (IRβ, PKCζ and mTOR) was assessed by semiquantitative Western blotting from the tissues mentioned. The type of diet had a remarkable influence on the insulin homeostasis of chickens. The wheat-based diet significantly increased IRβ and mTOR expression in the liver as well as mTOR and PKCζ expression in the adipose tissue when compared to animals kept on a maize-based diet. IRβ expression in the liver was stimulated by the lower dose of non-protected butyrate as well, suggesting the potential of butyrate as a feed additive to affect insulin sensitivity. Based on the results obtained, the present study shows new aspects of nutritional factors by comparing the special effects of butyrate as a feed additive and those of the cereal type, presumably in association with dietary non-starch polysaccharide- (NSP-) driven enteric shortchain fatty acid release including butyrate, influencing insulin homeostasis in chickens. As the tissues of chickens have physiologically lower insulin sensitivity compared to mammals, diet-associated induction of the insulin signalling pathway can be of special importance in improving growth and metabolic health.

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