Animals at the neonatal stage have to eat more to support better growth and health. However, it is difficult to understand the mechanism of feeding during an early stage of life in the brain of the rodent model. Chickens are precocial and they can look for their food by themselves right after hatching. Neonatal chicks have a relatively large-sized brain; therefore, the drugs are easy to administer centrally and changes in food intake can be clearly monitored. Sleeping status, which affects food intake, can be estimated from the posture. The closest vertebrate outgroup to mammals is birds, but it was reported that the organization of the human genome is closer to that of the chicken than the mouse. Thus, it is important to understand the central mechanism of feeding regulation in the neonatal chicks. In neuropeptides, the number of candidates as the orexigenic factor was less than those as the anorexigenic factor, even at an early growth stage. Some of the neuropeptides have reverse effects, e.g., ghrelin and prolactin releasing peptides, or no effects compared to the effects confirmed in mammals. Some of the genetic differences between meat-type (broiler) and layer-type chickens would explain the difference in food intake. On the other hand, it was difficult to explain the feeding mechanism by neuropeptides alone, as neonatal chicks have a repeated feeding, sleeping, and resting behavior within a short period. Some of the amino acids and their metabolites act centrally to regulate feeding with sedative and hypnotic effects. In conclusion, endogenous neuropeptides and endogenous and/or exogenous nutrients like amino acids collaborate to regulate feeding behavior in neonatal chicks.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Organic Chemistry