Calcium transport in strongly calcifying laying birds: mechanisms and regulation

Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Arie Bar

Abstract

Birds that lay long clutches (series of eggs laid sequentially before a "pause day"), among them the high-producing, strongly-calcifying Gallus gallus domesticus (domestic hen) and Coturnix coturnix japonica (Japanese quail), transfer about 10% of their total body calcium daily. They appear, therefore, to be the most efficient calcium-transporters among vertebrates. Such intensive transport imposes severe demands on ionic calcium (Ca2+) homeostasis, and activates at least two extremely effective mechanisms for Ca2+ transfer from food and bone to the eggshell. This review focuses on the development, action and regulation of the mechanisms associated with paracellular and transcellular Ca2+ transport in the intestine and the eggshell gland (ESG); it also considers some of the proteins (calbindin, Ca2+ATPase, Na+/Ca2+ exchange, epithelial calcium channels (TRPVs), osteopontin and carbonic anhydrase (CA) associated with this phenomenon. Calbindins are discussed in some detail, as they appear to be a major component of the transcellular transport system, and as only they have been studied extensively in birds. The review aims to gather old and new knowledge, which could form a conceptual basis, albeit not a completely accepted one, ...Continue Reading

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