The variation in cloacal temperature, body weight loss and expression of the 70 kDa heat shock protein (Hsp70) in three naked neck broiler genotypes during heat stress were studied. Twelve birds of each genotype (Na/Na, Na/na and na/na) were reared to market weight (approximately 2.1kg) at thermoneutral temperature. Six birds from each group served as controls and the remaining six underwent gradual heat stress (from 28ºC to 36ºC). Cloacal temperature and body weight were measured before and after exposure to heat. Liver samples were collected and Hsp70 levels were quantified using western blotting with monoclonal anti-chicken Hsp70 antibody. Heterozygous (Na/na) birds had a significantly lower cloacal temperature variation and less body weight loss during heat stress than the other genotypes. There was no significant difference in the Hsp70 levels among the genotypes. Heterozygous birds (Na/na) appeared to have a slight advantage over the other genotypes during gradual heat stress, perhaps because of a heterotic effect.
Broiler chicken; naked neck genotype; Hsp70 expression; heat stress; cloacal temperature