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The influence of maternal nutrition on expression of genes responsible for adipogenesis and myogenesis in the bovine fetus

  • T. D. Jennings (a1), M. G. Gonda (a1), K. R. Underwood (a1), A. E. Wertz-Lutz (a1) and A. D. Blair (a1)...


The objective of this study was to determine whether altered maternal energy supply during mid-gestation results in differences in muscle histology or genes regulating fetal adipose and muscle development. In total, 22 Angus cross-bred heifers (BW=527.73±8.3 kg) were assigned randomly to the three dietary treatments providing 146% (HIGH; n=7), 87% (INT; n=7) or 72% (LOW; n=8) of the energy requirements for heifers from day 85 to day 180 of gestation. Fetuses were removed via cesarean section at day 180 of gestation and longissimus muscle (LM) and subcutaneous fat were collected and prepared for analysis of gene expression. Samples from the LM and semitendinosus (ST) were evaluated for muscle fiber diameter, area and number. The right hind limb was dissected and analyzed to determine compositional analysis. Fetal growth and muscle histology characteristics of the LM and ST were similar among treatments. Preadipocyte factor-1 expression was up-regulated in fetal LM (P<0.05) of HIGH fetuses as compared with INT, whereas LOW fetuses showed increased CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein-β (C/EBP-β) expression in LM as compared with INT (P<0.05). Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γand C/EBP-α did not differ as a result of dietary treatment in LM or subcutaneous fat samples. There was a tendency for increased expression of fatty acid synthase in LM of LOW fetuses as compared with INT (P<0.10). Myogenin was more highly expressed (P<0.05) in LM of the LOW fetuses, whereas μ-calpain expression was increased in the HIGH treatment compared with INT. A tendency for increased expression of IGF-II was observed for both LOW and HIGH fetuses compared with INT (P<0.10). Expression of stearoyl-CoA desaturase, myoblast determination protein 1, myogenic factor 5, myogenic regulatory factor-4, m-calpain, calpastatin, IGF-I and myostatin was similar between treatments. Collectively, these results suggest that fetal growth characteristics are not affected by the level of maternal nutritional manipulation imposed in this study during mid-gestation. However, differences in expression of fetal genes regulating adipose and muscle tissue growth and development could lead to differences in postnatal composition and warrants further investigation.


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