Adipogenic differentiation state-specific gene expression as related to bovine carcass adiposity

C. L. Pickworth, S. C. Loerch, S. G. Velleman, J. L. Pate, D. H. Poole, F. L. Fluharty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Genetic regulation of the site of fat deposition is not well defined. The objective of this study was to investigate adipogenic differentiation state-specific gene expression in feedlot cattle (>75% Angus; <25% Simmental parentage) of varying adipose accretion patterns. Four groups of 4 steers were selected via ultrasound for the following adipose tissue characteristics: low subcutaneous-low intramuscular (LSQ-LIM), low subcutaneous-high intramuscular (LSQ-HIM), high subcutaneous-low intramuscular (HSQ-LIM), and high subcutaneous-high intramuscular (HSQ-HIM). Adipose tissue from the subcutaneous (SQ) and intramuscular (IM) depots was collected at slaughter. The relative expression of adipogenic genes was evaluated using quantitative PCR. Data were analyzed using the mixed model of SAS, and gene expression data were analyzed using covariate analysis with ribosomal protein L19 as the covariate. No interactions (P > 0.10) were observed between IM and SQ adipose tissue depots for any of the variables measured. Therefore, only the main effects of high and low accretion within a depot and the effects of depot are reported. Steers with LIM had smaller mean diameter IM adipocytes (P < 0.001) than HIM steers. Steers with HSQ had larger mean diameter SQ adipocytes (P < 0.001) than LSQ. However, there were no differences (P > 0.10) in any of the genes measured due to high or low adipose accretion. Preadipogenic delta-like kinase1 mRNA was greater in the IM than the SQ adipose tissue; conversely, differentiating and adipogenic genes, lipoprotein lipase, PPARγ, fatty acid synthetase, and fatty acid binding protein 4 were greater (P < 0.001) in the SQ than the IM depot. Intramuscular adipocytes were smaller than SQ adipocytes and had greater expression of the preadipogenic gene, indicating that more hyperplasia was occurring. Meanwhile, SQ adipose tissue contained much larger (P < 0.001) adipocytes that had a greater expression (P < 0.001) of differentiating and adipogenic genes than did the IM adipose tissue, indicating more cells were undergoing differentiation and hypertrophy. Adipogenic differentiation state-specific gene expression was not different in cattle with various phenotypes, but adipogenesis in the SQ and IM adipose tissues seems to occur independently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-366
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Adipose
  • Bovine
  • Differentiation
  • Gene expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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