Targeted differential illumination improves reproductive traits of broiler breeder males

J. Bartman, S. Zaguri, N. Avital-Cohen, L. Dishon, S. Druyan, M. Gumułka, I. Rozenboim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Artificial targeted illumination has a pivotal role in reproductive processes of poultry. The light-absorption mechanism in birds consists of 2 main components: the eye (retinal photoreceptors) and extraretinal photoreceptors located in the brain. Previous studies conducted on hens have shown that photostimulation of brain extraretinal photoreceptors elevates reproductive activity, whereas retinal photostimulation suppresses it. We tested the effect of targeted differential photostimulation (TDP) on reproductive activities of broiler breeder males. Fifty broiler breeder roosters (Ross), 21 wk of age, were divided into 5 environmentally controlled light-treatment rooms (n = 10) equipped with individual cages. Rooms 1 and 2 had 2 parallel lighting systems consisting of red light (630 nm) and green light (514 nm), and rooms 3 and 4 had parallel red and blue (456 nm) lighting systems. Room 5, illuminated with white light, served as the control. Birds of all groups were kept under short day (6L:18D) for 2 wk with both lighting systems in each treatment room turned on. At 23 wk of age, birds were photostimulated by gradually increasing one of the lighting systems to 14 h of light in each room, while the other lighting system was left on short day (6L:18D). Weekly semen samples were collected until 65 wk of age and analyzed for volume, motility, concentration and vitality. Monthly blood samples were drawn for plasma hormone assays. At 65 wk of age, roosters were euthanized and hypothalamus, pituitary gland, retina and testes samples were taken for mRNA expression analysis. TDP using long-day red light and short-day green light significantly increased reproductive performance, manifested by higher semen volume, motility and concentration, and testis weight; furthermore, this group had higher plasma testosterone levels, higher GnRH mRNA expression in the hypothalamus, lower levels of aromatase in the testes, and lower mRNA expression of hypothalamic serotonin transporter, and of pituitary prolactin and its receptors in the testes. This is the first study showing a positive effect of TDP on reproduction of broiler breeder roosters.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number101109
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • broiler breeder males
  • extraretinal photoreceptors
  • photostimulation
  • reproduction
  • semen

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Targeted differential illumination improves reproductive traits of broiler breeder males'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this