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Open AccessArticle

Strategies towards Improved Feed Efficiency in Pigs Comprise Molecular Shifts in Hepatic Lipid and Carbohydrate Metabolism

1
Institute for Genome Biology, Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN), Wilhelm-Stahl-Allee 2, 18196 Dummerstorf, Germany
2
Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Co. Down, Hillsborough BT26 6DR, UK
3
Institute for Muscle Biology and Growth, Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN), Wilhelm-Stahl-Allee 2, 18196 Dummerstorf, Germany
4
Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University Rostock, 18059 Rostock, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1674; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18081674
Received: 14 June 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring the Genotype–Phenotype Map to Explain Complex Traits)
Due to the central role of liver tissue in partitioning and metabolizing of nutrients, molecular liver-specific alterations are of considerable interest to characterize an efficient conversion and usage of feed in livestock. To deduce tissue-specific and systemic effects on nutrient metabolism and feed efficiency (FE) twenty-four animals with extreme phenotypes regarding residual feed intake (RFI) were analyzed. Transcriptome and fatty acid profiles of liver tissue were complemented with measurements on blood parameters and thyroid hormone levels. Based on 803 differentially-abundant probe sets between low- and high-FE animals, canonical pathways like integrin signaling and lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, were shown to be affected. Molecular alterations of lipid metabolism show a pattern of a reduced hepatic usage of fatty acids in high-FE animals. Complementary analyses at the systemic level exclusively pointed to increased circulating triglycerides which were, however, accompanied by considerably lower concentrations of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in the liver of high-FE pigs. These results are in accordance with altered muscle-to-fat ratios usually ascribed to FE animals. It is concluded that strategies to improve FE might favor a metabolic shift from energy storage towards energy utilization and mobilization. View Full-Text
Keywords: feed efficiency; gene expression; lipid metabolism; liver; nutrient utilization; resource efficiency feed efficiency; gene expression; lipid metabolism; liver; nutrient utilization; resource efficiency
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Reyer, H.; Oster, M.; Magowan, E.; Dannenberger, D.; Ponsuksili, S.; Wimmers, K. Strategies towards Improved Feed Efficiency in Pigs Comprise Molecular Shifts in Hepatic Lipid and Carbohydrate Metabolism. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 1674.

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