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Contrasting cellularity on fat deposition in the subcutaneous adipose tissue and longissimus lumborum muscle from lean and fat pigs under dietary protein reduction

  • P. A. Lopes (a1), A. S. H. Costa (a1), P. Costa (a1), V. M. R. Pires (a1), M. S. Madeira (a1), F. Achega (a1), R. M. A. Pinto (a2) and J. A. M. Prates (a1)...


The production of pork with high amounts of intramuscular fat (IMF) without an increase in subcutaneous fat is highly desirable for the pig industry and consumers. Herein, we question the impact of dietary protein reduction (18% v. 13%) on fat deposition in the subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and longissimus lumborum (LL) muscle using genetically diverse pigs for body fatness (lean v. fat). A clear effect of genotype was observed on plasma insulin (P=0.004) and leptin (P<0.001), as well as on backfat thickness (P<0.001), with the fat pigs having higher values. Accordingly, IMF was higher in the fat pigs, when compared with their lean counterparts (P=0.003), which was supported by enlarged adipocytes (P<0.001). The area of lipid droplets within the LL fibres (P=0.039) and extramyocellular lipids number (P=0.017) were increased in pigs fed reduced protein diets, regardless of genotype, which is consistent with higher levels of plasma triacylglycerols (P=0.002). The gene-expression pattern of lipogenic factors in the SAT was distinct from the LL muscle. In the SAT, PPARG expression was similar among genotypes (P>0.05), whereas in the LL muscle it was higher in the lean pigs (P=0.023), especially when fed on low protein diet (P=0.057). The CEBPA and FABP4 mRNA levels were increased in the SAT of fat pigs (P<0.001), without changes in the LL muscle (P>0.05). The influence of diet on FABP4 expression in the SAT was dependent on pig’s genetic background (P=0.005). In conclusion, fat deposition was clearly influenced by genotype and, to a lesser extent, by dietary protein level, the SAT being more sensitive than the LL muscle. One can speculate that the pathways involved in lipid metabolism are downregulated in intramuscular adipocytes when compared with SAT fat cells. This result might be a direct consequence of the relatively low proportion of adipocytes found in the LL muscle.


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Contrasting cellularity on fat deposition in the subcutaneous adipose tissue and longissimus lumborum muscle from lean and fat pigs under dietary protein reduction

  • P. A. Lopes (a1), A. S. H. Costa (a1), P. Costa (a1), V. M. R. Pires (a1), M. S. Madeira (a1), F. Achega (a1), R. M. A. Pinto (a2) and J. A. M. Prates (a1)...


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