Long-term measurement of heart rate in chicken eggs

Ryuichi Akiyama, Akira Matsuhisa, James T. Pearson, Hiroshi Tazawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Taking advantage of acoustocardiogram (ACG), we measured the heart rate (HR) of chick embryos continuously from day 12 until hatching and then investigated the development of HR irregularities (HRI), HR variability (HRV), and the existence of a circadian rhythm in mean HR (MHR). HRI comprised transient bradycardia and tachycardia, which first developed on day 14 and 16 in most embryos, respectively. Transient bradycardia increased in frequency and magnitude with embryonic development and occurred over periods of up to 30 min in some embryos. MHR was maximal on around days 14-15 and thereafter decreased to about 250-260 bpm on days 16-18. Baseline HRV, which is an oscillation of the MHR baseline, occurred as HR decreased from days 15- 16 and became predominant on days 17-18. The magnitude of the baseline oscillations reached up to 50 bpm in some embryos and the period ranged between about 40-90 min (ultradian rhythm). A circadian rhythm of MHR was not found in late chick embryos. On days 18-19, embryonic activities were augmented and then breathing movements began to occur, disturbing ACG signals and thus making it difficult to measure the HR. Instead, the development of breathing activities was recorded. Breathing frequency was irregular at first and then increased to a maximum of about 1.5 Hz prior to hatching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-490
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustocardiogram
  • Breathing activity
  • Chick embryo
  • Continuous measurement
  • Heart rate irregularities
  • Heart rate oscillations
  • Internal pipping
  • Mean heart rate
  • Respiratory movements

Cite this