The effect of monochromatic photostimulation on growth and development of broiler birds

I. Rozenboim*, M. E. El Halawani, Y. Kashash, Y. Piestun, O. Halevy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The only light source for chickens in environmentally controlled houses is an artificial one. Thus, source, spectra, intensity and regimen of light supplementation became major factors in modern meat type bird management. Light spectra affect growth in meat type birds both in ovo and post hatch. Broilers photostimulated in ovo with green light gained significantly more weight than birds incubated under dark conditions. Furthermore, we defined the cellular and molecular events associated with the effect of in ovo green photostimulation on muscle growth. We found that in ovo photostimulation have a stimulatory effect on the proliferation and differentiation of satellite cells and a promoting effect on the uniformity of the muscle fibers in the early post-hatch period. How does in ovo photostimulation affect intracellular events, such as proliferation and differentiation of muscle cells, leading to post-hatch muscle growth? It is possible that the monochromatic green light penetrates the eggshell and has a direct effect on the embryo's muscle. We were unable to detect any proliferative effect of monochromatic green light on cultured myoblasts derived from standard (un-illuminated) E17 embryos and 3-day-old chicks. A more likely explanation is that green light indirectly affects myoblast proliferation by activating the endocrine system; the latter receives photic cues from the retinal or extra-retinal photoreceptors. We gathered some evidence to support these findings; we have shown a higher expression of growth hormone (GH) receptor mRNA in satellite cells derived from green light illuminated chicks. In addition, plasma GH levels and IGF-I levels in muscle tissue, were higher in the green group relative to the dark one in early post-hatch. Another possible explanation for this phenomenon could be that growth factor secretion is activated in response to green light photostimulation. Both retinal and extra-retinal photoreceptors are active during embryogenesis and can be first detected at E14. Combinations of in ovo and post-hatch green light photostimulation to broilers and turkeys did not cause synergetic effect on growth. In a recent study, we found that in ovo green light photostimulation suppresses the green and red opsin receptors gene expression in the last three days before hatching, while red light enhances their expression. Furthermore, we found that the down-regulation of the green and red opsins in response to incubation under monochromatic green lighting lasted up to 9. days post hatch, suggesting a possible epigenetic effect.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)214-219
Number of pages6
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
StatePublished - 5 Jun 2012


  • Photostimulation broiler monochromatic light muscle growth


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