Int J Biol Sci 2017; 13(12):1547-1559. doi:10.7150/ijbs.22670

Research Paper

Oxygen Supplementation Ameliorates Tibial Development via Stimulating Vascularization in Tibetan Chickens at High Altitudes

Shucheng Huang1, Xiaole Tong1, Mujeeb Ur Rehman1, Meng Wang1, Lihong Zhang1, Lei Wang1, Jiakui Li1,2✉, Shijin Yang1✉

1. College of Veterinary Medicine, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, People's Republic of China;
2. College of Animals Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine, Tibet Agricultural and Animal Husbandry University, Nyingchi 860000 Tibet, People's Republic of China.


Tibetan chickens (TBCs) living in high-altitude hypoxic environment, are characterized by delayed growth and small size as compared to low-altitude broiler chickens. Increasing evidences signify the beneficial effect of oxygen (O2) supplementation in animal's body for regulating their body growth and organ development. However, it is still unclear that whether O2 supplementation has an ameliorative and protective role in TBCs living at high altitude. In this study, we first found that O2 supplementation not only increased the survival rate but also promoted the growth of TBCs associated with bone development. Importantly, we observed that the increase of vascular distribution in the tibial hypertrophic zone could contribute to promote growth and development of the tibia, which is highly correlated with the up-regulated expression level of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A and VEGF receptor-1 (VEGFR1). Additionally, hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1ɑ also has a stimulative elevation by O2 supplementation. These results were confirmed by histology, immunohistochemistry, qRT-PCR and Western blotting techniques. Altogether, these findings demonstrated that the up-regulation of VEGFA and its receptors are accompanied by proangiogeneic factor (HIF-1α) expression, which were required for angiogenesis to meliorate tibia development of TBCs in hypoxia-induced bone suppression that occurred during O2 supplementation. Thus, O2 supplementation may serve as a good applicant for promoting and meliorating bone development in juvenile high-altitude animals.

Keywords: angiogenesis, bone development, oxygen supplementation, VEGFA, Tibetan chicken.

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How to cite this article:
Huang S, Tong X, Rehman MU, Wang M, Zhang L, Wang L, Li J, Yang S. Oxygen Supplementation Ameliorates Tibial Development via Stimulating Vascularization in Tibetan Chickens at High Altitudes. Int J Biol Sci 2017; 13(12):1547-1559. doi:10.7150/ijbs.22670. Available from