Source: BMC Veterinary Research
The fatty acid (FA) composition of adipose tissue influences the nutritional quality of meat products. The unsaturation level of FAs is determined by fatty acid desaturases such as stearoyl-CoA desaturases (SCDs), which are under control of the transcription factor sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP). Differences inSCD genotype may thus confer variations in lipid metabolism and FA content among cattle breeds. This study investigated correlations between FA composition and lipogenic gene expression levels in the subcutaneous adipose tissue of beef cattle breeds of different gender from the Basque region of northern Spain. Pirenaica is the most important beef cattle breed in northern Spain, while Salers cattle and Holstein-Friesian cull cows are also an integral part of the regional beef supply.
Pirenaica heifers showed higher monounsaturated FA (MUFA) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) contents in subcutaneous adipose tissue than other breeds (P < 0.001). Alternatively, Salers bulls produced the highest oleic acid content, followed by Pirenaica heifers (P < 0.001). There was substantial variability in SCD gene expression among breeds, consistent with these differences in MUFA and CLA content. Correlations between SCD1 expression and most FA desaturation indexes (DIs) were positive in Salers (P < 0.05) and Pirenaica bulls, while, in general, SCD5expression showed few significant correlations with DIs. There was a significant linear correlation between SCD1 and SRBEP1 in all breeds, suggesting strong regulation of SCD1 expression by SRBEP1. Pirenaica heifers showed a stronger correlation between SCD1 and SREBP1 than Pirenaica bulls. We also observed a opposite relationship between SCD1 and SCD5 expression levels and opposite associations of isoform expression levels with the ∆9 desaturation indexes.
These results suggest that the relationships between FA composition and lipogenic gene expression are influenced by breed and sex. The opposite relationship betweenSCD isoforms suggests a compensatory regulation of total SCD activity, while opposite relationships between SCD isoforms and desaturation indexes, specially 9c-14:1 DI, previously reported as an indicator of SCD activity, may reflect distinct activities of SCD1 and SCD5 in regulation of FA content. These findings may be useful for beef/dairy breeding and feeding programs to supply nutritionally favorable products.
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