Classical biotin deficiency in young chickens is characterized by a reduction in the activity of liver biotin-dependent enzymes which thus impairs gluconeogenesis during periods of food withdrawal. Because the normal bird maintains an elevated fasting blood glucose level, the ability of the classically biotin-deficient animal to resist changes induced by fasting has not been established. Whether the release of insulin and/or glucagon is affected by biotin deficiency has not been investigated and so determining the importance of these hormones in maintaining fasting glucose levels as well as their ability to respond to a challenge is the objective of the present study. Experimental animals (15-week-old cockerels) were fed a biotin-deficient diet for 9 weeks while control animals (n = 8) were pair-fed biotin-supplemented diets. Before fasting, concentrations of plasma glucose, insulin, and glucagon were not different between the two groups. After 72 h of fasting basal glucose levels remained the same in both groups and concentrations of plasma insulin were equally suppressed but concentrations of glucagon were significantly elevated in biotin-deficient animals (P<0.025). Ten minutes after an iv glucose challenge the magnitude of the increase in plasma insulin concentrations was equivalent for both groups of animals whereas the magnitude of the decline in plasma glucagon concentrations was greater for biotin-deficient birds. Twenty minutes after a protein challenge (purified casein diet) the levels of plasma glucagon in both groups were maximally increased although the concentrations remained elevated only in control animals. In conclusion the release of insulin and glucagon is not impaired in biotin-deficient animals. Fasted classically biotin-deficient animals may be able to overcome defects in gluconeogenesis induced by biotin deficiency by increasing their basal and stimulated glucagon levels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology