Starving affects cdx gene expression during small intestinal development in the chick

A. Geyra, Z. Uni, O. Gal-Garber, D. Guy, D. Sklan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The small intestine of the chicken undergoes intensive changes in the immediate posthatch period, increasing in size and developing crypts, villi and mature enterocytes. During this time, chicks are also transferring from nutrition based on the lipid-rich yolk to exogenous carbohydrate-rich feeds. The cdx homeobox genes participate in axial patterning and in definition of cell identity in embryos, and some cdx genes remain active postpartum in organs such as the intestine. In this study, the transcription patterns of two of these genes, cdxA and cdxB, were examined in the small intestine of the embryo and posthatch chick; in addition, the effects on these genes of starving for 48 h at hatch were examined. Both cdx transcription factors were upregulated toward the time of hatch and were observed in proliferating enterocytes; this enhanced expression continued posthatch. Distribution of cdxA changed with age and was found at higher concentrations in mature enterocytes. Starving from 0 to 48 h posthatch retarded growth and decreased enterocyte proliferation and expression of cdxA and cdxB. After access to feed, expression of cdx genes was enhanced. Chicken homeobox genes cdxA and cdxB are expressed in all enterocytes during embryonic and posthatch development; however, cdxA may have a role in enterocyte maturation posthatch. CdxB was expressed later in development then previously reported.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)911-917
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002


  • Cdx
  • Chicks
  • Development
  • Intestine


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