Postnatal development of stearoyl coenzyme A desaturase gene expression and adiposity in bovine subcutaneous adipose tissue. Academic Article uri icon


  • This investigation addressed the hypothesis that stearoyl coenzyme A desaturase (SCD) gene expression would serve as a postnatal marker of adipocyte differentiation in bovine s.c. adipose tissue. Samples of tailhead s.c. adipose tissue were obtained by biopsy from preweaning steer calves 2.5 wk, 5 mo, and 7.5 mo of age and from yearling steers 12 mo of age. Samples also were obtained at slaughter when the steers were 18 mo of age. The steers sampled as yearlings were fed native pasture from weaning until 12 mo of age, and the steers sampled at slaughter were fed a high-concentrate diet from 12 to 18 mo of age. Major peak adipocyte volumes for the 2.5-wk-, 5-mo-, and 7.5-mo-old steers were 14, 270, and 700 pL, respectively (P < .001). The steers did not gain weight during pasture feeding, and at 12 mo of age peak adipocyte volume had decreased (P = .009) to 270 pL. At this time, a second, smaller population of adipocytes had appeared with a peak volume of 115 pL. At slaughter, adjusted fat thickness of the steers was 1.60 +/- .13 cm, the USDA yield grade of the carcasses was 3.51 +/- .31, and peak adipocyte volume had increased (P = .01) to over 2,500 pL. The number of adipocytes per 100 mg of adipose tissue doubled (P = .006) between 2.5 wk and 5 mo of age, concurrent with the nearly 20-fold increase in peak adipocyte volume, indicating that this was a period of apparent adipocyte hyperplasia. Uncoupling protein mRNA was undetectable at all stages of postnatal growth, indicating that differentiating tailhead s.c. adipocytes do not acquire brown adipocyte characteristics postnatally. Lipogenesis expressed on a cellular basis was low in all preweaning samples and increased significantly above preweaning values only in the 18-mo-old steers. Stearoyl coenzyme A desaturase mRNA concentration also was low in all preweaning samples, but it peaked (P = .07) at 12 mo of age. Because the peak in SCD mRNA concentration preceded a significant rise in lipogenesis and lipid filling, we conclude that the level SCD gene expression may be indicative of the extent of terminal differentiation in bovine tailhead s.c. adipose tissue.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Martin, G. S., Lunt, D. K., Britain, K. G., & Smith, S. B.

citation count

  • 70

complete list of authors

  • Martin, GS||Lunt, DK||Britain, KG||Smith, SB

publication date

  • March 1999