Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 16, pp 15411–15421 | Cite as

Transcriptome analysis reveals the molecular mechanism of hepatic metabolism disorder caused by chromium poisoning in chickens

  • Xinxin Tian
  • Hui Zhang
  • Yali Zhao
  • Khalid Mehmood
  • Xiaoxing Wu
  • Zhenyu Chang
  • Min Luo
  • Xueting Liu
  • Muhammad Ijaz
  • Muhammad Tariq Javed
  • Donghai Zhou
Research Article


Chromium (Cr) is one of the most important environmental pollutants which are released into the environment due to their wide usage in numerous industries. The excess of Cr (VI) can induce hepatotoxicity, while the molecular mechanism that is involved in Cr (VI)-induced hepatotoxicity is unclear. We demonstrated the induction of chromium poisoning model in chickens to identify the differentially expressed genes (DEGs), and their functions were analyzed under different physiological and pathological conditions. Histopathological examination and transcriptome data for chromium-poisoned livers and control livers were annotated with Illumina® HiSeq 2000. The histopathological examination in chromium poisoning groups showed diapedesis, hemolysis, degeneration, nucleus pycnosis, and central phlebectasia in the liver. A total of 334 genes were upregulated and 509 genes were downregulated. The most strongly upregulated genes were HKDC1, DDX4, ACACA, FDFT1, CYYR1, PPP1R3C, and SLC16A14, while the most downregulated genes were MYBPC3, CCKAR, PCK1, and CPT1A. A Gene Ontology (GO) term with the highest enrichment of DEGs is small molecule metabolic process. In cell component domain, the term with the highest enrichment is extracellular matrix. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways showed that glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism, and protein metabolism were the most important metabolic pathways in the liver. The current study first time provides important clues and evidence for identifying the differentially expressed genes in livers due to Cr (VI)-induced liver injury in chickens.


Transcriptome Chromium Hepatotoxicity Hepatic metabolism Liver 


Author contributions

X.T., H.Z., Y.Z., X.W., Z.C., M.L., and D.Z. were responsible for study conception and design; H.Z., D.Z., K.M., X.L., M.I., and M.T.J. were involved in the drafting of the manuscript.

Funding information

This study was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2016YFD0501208), National Natural Science Foundation of China (No: 30700588) and Hubei Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No: 2014CFB244).

Compliance with ethical standards

All the experiments were performed after the approval of the Institutional Animal Welfare and Research Ethics Committee of Huazhong Agricultural University Wuhan, China (approval number 31272556). All animal experiments and methods were conducted under the relevant procedure of Proclamation of the Standing Committee of Hubei People’s Congress (No. 29), China.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_1653_MOESM1_ESM.docx (250 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 250 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Veterinary MedicineHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.University College of Veterinary and Animal SciencesIslamia University of BahawalpurBahawalpurPakistan
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Clinical Veterinary Medicine in TibetXiZang Agriculture and Animal Husbandry CollegeLinzhiPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Department of Clinical Medicine and SurgeryUniversity of Veterinary and Animal SciencesLahorePakistan
  5. 5.University of AgricultureFaisalabadPakistan

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