Feeding intensity and dietary protein level affect adipocyte cellularity and lipogenic capacity of muscle homogenates in growing pigs, without modification of the expression of sterol regulatory element binding protein.J Anim Sci. 2002 Dec; 80(12):3184-93.JA
Muscle fat stores at slaughter partly determine the dietetic and sensory quality traits of pork meat. Nutritional strategies during the growing-finishing period are able to modify intramuscular fat content; however, the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. The objective of this study was to determine some of the cellular, biochemical, and molecular bases of muscle fat content variation in response to feeding regimen in pigs. Crossbred pigs of 30 kg BW were allocated to three feeding groups: free access ([C], n = 10) to a standard diet (3.25 kcal of DE/kg, 9.5 g of lysine/kg), standard diet at 75% of the spontaneous voluntary intake ([FR], n = 10), or both low protein and energy intakes ([PR], n = 10) in order to get the same growth rate as the FR pigs and the same body composition as the C pigs. At slaughter (110 kg BW), FR and PR pigs were 30 d older than C pigs (P < 0.001). In agreement with the protocol, carcass adiposity was similar in PR and reduced (P < 0.01) in FR pigs compared with C animals. Lipid content in longissimus lumborum muscle was reduced by 25% in FR pigs and increased by 40% in PR pigs compared to C pigs (P < 0.001). Commensurate variations in the diameter of muscle adipocytes were observed between the three feeding groups (P < 0.001). The muscle activities of malic enzyme and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, generating reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate for fatty acid synthesis, were depressed (P < 0.05) in both FR and PR groups, compared to the C group. The expression level of the sterol regulatory element binding protein that was chosen as the putative candidate at the molecular level was not modified by the feeding regimen. No variations in the oxidative enzyme markers were denoted, whereas lactate dehydrogenase activity was reduced by 13% (P < 0.05) in PR group compared to other groups. In conclusion, moderate long-term feed restriction results in decreased lipogenic capacity of muscle adipocytes and intramuscular fat content. In contrast, the reduction of both protein and energy intakes more likely results in an imbalance between multiple aspects of muscle energy metabolism, in favor of intramuscular fat accretion.