Acute heat stress (34°C for 18 h) resulted in increased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in mitochondria isolated from the skeletal muscle of broilers. This occurred when glutamate-requiring complexes I, III, and IV of the electron transport chain or succinate-requiring complexes II, III and IV were used as the substrate. This result confirms our previous observation that exposure of broilers to 34°C for 18 h results in increased superoxide production in skeletal (pectoralis) muscle, and extends this finding by showing that substrate-independent ROS generation occurs during the heat stress period. When broilers were exposed to heat stress, the levels of avian uncoupling protein (avUCP) mRNA in skeletal muscle were significantly decreased, to 28% of the levels found in untreated controls. This was accompanied by a significant decrease in the levels of the avUCP protein, to 37% of control levels. In contrast, avian adenine nucleotide translocator mRNA levels were not affected by exposure to heat stress. This finding is consistent with previous studies which showed that the increases in superoxide production that are observed in the presence of carboxyatractylate, a specific inhibitor of adenine nucleotide translocator, were the same for skeletal muscle mitochondria from both control and heat-stressed chickens. Taken together, these results suggest that acute heat stress stimulates mitochondrial superoxide production in broiler skeletal muscle, possibly via downregulation of avUCP. The present study provides the first evidence that synthesis of avUCP protein is downregulated in heat-stressed broilers.
- Adenine nucleotide translocator
- Heat stress
- Reactive oxygen species
- Uncoupling protein