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Catecholamine concentrations were determined from day 18 to 21 of incubation (D18, D21) in developing chicken embryos. The control group was continuously incubated at 37.5 degrees C. The eggs of the two other groups were incubated at 37.5 degrees C until day 14. In the cold group, temperature was decreased to 35.0 degrees C and in the warm group, incubation temperature was increased to 38.5 degrees C for the remainder of incubation. Plasma catecholamine concentrations were measured in eggs exposed to a change in incubation temperature for 4, 5, 6 and 7 days. Embryos in the warm group had dopamine (DA) and noradrenaline (NA) concentrations that were significantly higher than in the control group. On the contrary, eggs incubated at the cooler temperature had hormone levels that were significantly lower than in the control group. Adrenaline (A) levels in the two experimental treatments were significantly lower compared to control eggs. Temperature modulated the time needed for development. Chicken embryos are supposed to hatch on day 21. However, on day 20, NA concentration in the cold-incubated group was too low to fulfill its essential physiological function, whereas in the warm group, the NA concentration seems to be sufficient. Long-term exposure to altered incubation temperature affects the quantitative catecholamine concentration during development, but the relative proportion of each catecholamine remained constant.