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Fat metabolism is regulated by altered gene expression of lipogenic enzymes and regulatory factors in liver and adipose tissue but not in semimembranosus muscle of pigs during the fattening period

  • P. Duran-Montgé (a1), P. K. Theil (a2), C. Lauridsen (a2) and E. Esteve-Garcia (a3)


It has been shown previously that lipid metabolism is regulated by fatty acids (FA) and that thyroid hormones are important regulators of energy metabolism. The effects of weight, dietary fat level and dietary FA profile on thyroid hormone levels and expression of lipogenic genes and tissue FA composition were studied. Sixty-one crossbred gilts weighing 62 ± 5.2 kg BW average were either slaughtered at the beginning of the trial (n = 5) or fed one of seven diets (n = 8 pigs per diet): a semi-synthetic diet formulated to contain a very low level of fat (NF) and six diets based on barley–soybean meal supplemented with approximately 10% fat of different origin and slaughtered at 100 kg BW. The supplemental fats were tallow, high-oleic sunflower oil, sunflower oil (SFO), linseed oil, fat blend (55% tallow, 35% sunflower oil, 10% linseed oil) and fish oil blend (40% fish oil, 60% linseed oil). In general, the dietary FA profiles altered the FA composition of liver, semimembranosus muscle and adipose tissues. Pigs fed the NF diet had the highest free and total triiodothyronine (T3) values followed by pigs fed SFO. Total T3 levels were higher in pigs at 60 kg than in pigs at 100 kg. Correlations between thyroid hormones and genes encoding enzymes of fat synthesis in adipose tissue (acetyl CoA carboxylase (ACACA), fatty acid synthase and stearoyl CoA desaturase (SCD)) and the large differences in expression of lipogenic genes at different weights (60 and 100 kg BW), suggest a role for thyroid hormones and for T3, in particular, in regulating whole animal fat metabolism, with effects brought about by altered expression of lipogenic genes. Liver sterol receptor element binding protein-1 (SREBP1) mRNA content was affected by dietary treatment (P < 0.001) and was correlated with ACACA and SCD, whereas adipose tissue SREBP1 was not correlated with the mRNA abundance of any lipogenic enzyme. Weight and tissue factors showed greater influence on mRNA abundance of genes related with lipid metabolism than diet and tissue FA composition. In the pig, FA synthesis appear to be of greater magnitude in adipose tissue than in the liver as suggested by the higher expression of lipogenic genes in adipose tissue.


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