Comparison of gene expression and fatty acid profiles in concentrate and forage finished beef

J. W. Buchanan, A. J. Garmyn, G. G. Hilton, D. L. VanOverbeke, Q. Duan, D. C. Beitz, R. G. Mateescu

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9 Scopus citations


Fatty acid profiles and intramuscular expression of genes involved in fatty acid metabolism were characterized in concentrate- (CO) and forage- (FO) based finishing systems. Intramuscular samples from the adductor were taken at slaughter from 99 heifers finished on a CO diet and 58 heifers finished on a FO diet. Strip loins were obtained at fabrication to evaluate fatty acid profiles of LM muscle for all 157 heifers by using gas chromatography fatty acid methyl ester analysis. Composition was analyzed for differences by using the General Linear Model (GLM) procedure in SAS. Differences in fatty acid profile included a greater atherogenic index, greater percentage total MUFA, decreased omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, decreased percentage total PUFA, and decreased percentage omega-3 fatty acids in CO-compared with FO-finished heifers (P < 0.05). Fatty acid profiles from intramuscular samples were ranked by the atherogenic index, and 20 heifers with either a high (HAI; n = 10) or low (LAI; n = 10) atherogenic index were selected for gene expression analysis using real-time PCR (RT-PCR). Gene expression data for the 20 individuals were analyzed as a 2 by 2 factorial arrangement of treatments using the GLM procedure in SAS. There was no significant diet × atherogenic index interaction identified for any gene (P > 0.05). Upregulation was observed for PPARγ, fatty acid synthase (FASN), and fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4) in FO-finished compared with CO-finished heifers in both atherogenic index categories (P < 0.05). Upregulation of diglyceride acyl transferase 2 (DGAT2) was observed in FO-finished heifers with a HAI (P <0.05). Expression of steroyl Co-A desaturase (SCD) was upregulated in CO-finished heifers with a LAI, and downregulated in FO-finished heifers with a HAI (P <0.05). Expression of adiponectin (ADIPOQ) was significantly downregulated in CO-finished heifers with a HAI compared with all other categories (P < 0.05). The genes identified in this study which exhibit differential regulation in response to diet or in animals with extreme fatty acid profiles may provide genetic markers for selecting desirable fatty acid profiles in future selection programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Beef
  • Concentrate diet
  • Diet
  • Fatty acids
  • Forage diet
  • Gene expression


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