In model organisms both the nutrition of the mother and the young offspring could induce long-lasting transcriptional changes in tissues. In livestock, such changes could have important roles in determining nutrient use and meat quality. The main objective was to evaluate if plane of maternal nutrition during late-gestation and weaning age alter the offspring's Longissimus muscle (LM) transcriptome, animal performance, and metabolic hormones. Wholetranscriptome microarray analysis was performed on LM samples of early (EW) and normal weaned (NW) Angus × Simmental calves born to grazing cows receiving no supplement [low plane of nutrition (LPN)] or 2.3 kg high-grain mix/day [medium plane of nutrition (MPN)] during the last 105 days of gestation. Biopsies of LM were harvested at 78 (EW), 187 (NW) and 354 (before slaughter) days of age. Despite greater feed intake in MPN offspring, blood insulin was greater in LPN offspring. Carcass intramuscular fat content was greater in EW offspring. Bioinformatics analysis of the transcriptome highlighted a modest overall response to maternal plane of nutrition, resulting in only 35 differentially expressed genes (DEG). However, weaning age and a high-grain diet (EW) strongly impacted the transcriptome (DEG = 167), especially causing a lipogenic program activation. In addition, between 78 and 187 days of age, EW steers had an activation of the innate immune system due presumably to macrophage infiltration of intramuscular fat. Between 187 and 354 days of age (the "finishing" phase), NW steers had an activation of the lipogenic transcriptome machinery, while EW steers had a clear inhibition through the epigenetic control of histone acetylases. Results underscored the need to conduct further studies to understand better the functional outcome of transcriptome changes induced in the offspring by pre- and post-natal nutrition. Additional knowledge on molecular and functional outcomes would help produce more efficient beef cattle.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)