Numerous reports have provided evidence that zearalenone (ZEN) can increase the weight of genital organs. These findings have been confirmed by many studies in which the ghrelin gene was expressed in the ovary and was implicated in the control of cells in reproductive tissues. The proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) is an important marker of cell proliferation.
The present study investigates the effects of a ZEN-treated diet on the development of ovaries in post-weaning piglets by the detection of ghrelin and PCNA protein and relative abundance of mRNA using optical microscopy, immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time (qRT-PCR). A total of 20 piglets (Duroc × Landrace × Yorkshire) weaned at 28 d, with an average body weight of 8.74 ± 0.26 kg (P = 0.919) were used in this study. Piglets in the control group (n = 10) were fed a normal basal diet, and those in the treatment group (n = 10) were fed a diet containing ZEN (1.04 mg/kg), for 35 d.
The proportion of growing follicles and diameter of the largest growing follicle in ovaries were greater in piglets fed the diet with ZEN. The total integrated optical densities of protein and mRNA of ghrelin and PCNA were greater with the feeding of the ZEN-treatment diet.
The results suggested that 1.04 mg/kg ZEN could promote the autocrine action or expression of the ghrelin gene in piglet ovary, and further accelerate the development of ovaries (follicles).
Meiling Dai, Shuzhen Jiang, Xuejun Yuan, Weiren Yang, Zaibin Yang, Libo Huang. Effects of zearalenone-diet on expression of ghrelin and PCNA genes in ovaries of post-weaning piglets. Animal Reproduction Science. Volume 168, May 2016, Pages 126–137. doi:10.1016/j.anireprosci.2016.03.006