This study aimed to determine the effects of digestible lysine levels in the diets of Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) on performance, blood parameters and the expression of insulin-like growth factor I, and growth hormone receptor (GHR), apolipoprotein A-I (APOA-I), acetyl-CoA-carboxylase (ACC), and fatty acid synthase (FAS) genes. A total of 288 seven-day-old female Japanese quails were randomly assigned to one of three diets that contained 0.8%, 1.10%, or 1.40% digestible lysine. The birds were slaughtered at 42 days old, and relative gene expression was evaluated in the liver by qRT-PCR using the 2-∆CT method. Lysine supplementation had no effect on weight gain and feed conversion. Abdominal fat was lower in birds supplemented with 0.8% digestible lysine than those supplemented with 1.10% and 1.40%. Increased total cholesterol and triglycerides were elevated in quails that received supplementation of 1.10% digestible lysine compared with the other diets. High density lipoproteins were decreased in birds that received 0.8% digestible lysine. Quails fed with 1.40% digestible lysine had greater expression of GHR and APOA-I than quails fed diets with 0.8 and 1.10% (P <0.05). The greatest expressions of ACC and FAS were observed in the liver of quails fed with 0.8% digestible lysine. The current results suggest that lysine supplementation in the pre-laying phase allows birds to deposit muscle mass to reach the optimal conformation and body fatness that provides an energetic reserve for the productive phase by modulating the expression of genes related to growth and lipid metabolism.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher